Fr Paddy ByrneWhere would most of us be without some sense of God in all our lives…

So many in our communities, families, workplaces have long faces that rarely smile. Anxiety and depression have grown dramatically in our society in recent times. I often wonder why is there an apparent absence of the spiritual or what has it been replaced by especially from my generation in their early thirties.

Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Carlow Nationalist
This column appeared on 27th February 2008

A recent visit to a home where great sadness and loss resided, left a lasting impression on me. Despite the apparent pain and great burden of bereavement carried by two parents because of their young son’s death, there was also an opportunity to hope. While speaking about their raw and fragile wound, both parents admitted that they could not get out of the bed in the morning if they did not have a sense of Gods presence in their lives. In a place where words seem so desperately inadequate tragic circumstances like this rely on empathy, love and perhaps most of all faith.

Where would most of us be without some sense of God in all our lives. I often contemplate that no matter how small and insecure my faith or any of ours may be, it is still such a wonderful gift, given to us from our God. In this regard it is very comforting that Jesus assures us that if our faith was only the size of a mustard seed great things could be made possible for us all.

One of the greatest temptations in life is at times to lose faith, to fall out with God and not perhaps to make up again. I am sure that most of us have had occasions in our lives when we have asked why? When sickness, berevement, conflict, hurt, separation, anxiety and burden come to our story we may well ask and wonder where is God in all of this.

When we consider all the problems that we have to engage with at a personal, national and global level, one may very well at times be overwhelmed. So many in our communities, families, workplaces have long faces that rarely smile. Anxiety and depression have grown dramatically in our society in recent times. I often wonder why is there an apparent absence of the spiritual or what has it been replaced by especially from my generation in their early thirties. Yes we travel a lot, we have been accustomed to plenty but there is a great spiritual poverty that somehow does not allow us breath fully or know what it is to be truly alive.

So many of my generation spend vast amounts of money consulting fortune tellers and engaging in other new age practices, forgetting the one who created us in a unique and much loved fashion resides in the depths of our own being. We, not God, more than often make life complicated. One of the great learning’s in the twelve step program me for that recovering from addiction is to live life simply, appreciating all that we have. Often were so concerned about achieving our long term goals we fail to live and celebrate the now.

Being open to God allows us to hope. There are many opportunities in all our lives to grow in our friendship with a God who patiently awaits all our stories, to be strengthened and healed by his presence. HOPE allows us to continue even where life can be most difficult and we may be bruised and scared. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, especially when we need that glimmer of light when the shadows of fear and brokenness surround us. God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.