I'm thankful to call the church Home.
The past two Sundays, I have felt so weak, so fragile walking through those doors. I have barely had the energy to stand, to pray out loud. And to sing? Absolutely not. Tears rolled down my cheek as I listened to the Gospel; a sadness for wanting to resonate with the hope and promises. But in the moment, feeling far from it.
And yet... there is something profoundly beautiful about the Church as a whole. The members making up the body. Although I may not know the person sitting next to me, or behind me - I hear their prayers, I hear their worship, I hear their trust. And on days when I can't muster the words, I can remain still. I can just show up. And I can let them carry me through Mass.
Showing up - when you don't feel like it - is a way of declaring an intense truth with your actions:
"My faith is stronger than my feelings."
My faith is more anchored than my feelings, and I can also depend on it to be more true than my feelings.
I'll pray the prayers, and I'll show up - even when I'm struggling to believe in the promises of the Lord. Even when these words I'm declaring or hearing don't feel true. Even when I feel like my hope is hanging on by a thread and I'm angry. Even when doubt is growing past the belief that things can and will get better.
Oh, how we carry each other.
Because things are ever-shifting and moving through us. So perhaps the days where I feel hopeful and excited about how God is working, and I sing loudly, maybe that same person that was full of passion last week and carrying me is now being carried by my voice, my proclamation of faith.
I write this to the person whose feelings seem bigger than their faith. It's okay - human, even good - to have doubts, to have seasons where hope feels slim, and to still know that your faith is separate from that. It can stand amongst it all. It can handle the waves of the passing negative thoughts and emotions. To know that God is not a feeling, your faith is not a feeling. We often cater every action we take, or don't take, towards something so changing and inconsistent.
To the person who has ever walked into a church, and felt unwelcome to come as you are - with these very normal and human struggles, I see you.
To the person that hasn't felt the energy to show up, I get it.
To the person that feels too resentful to worship, I understand.
You are welcome, always, and I'm sorry if anyone has ever made you feel anything otherwise. Because especially on those days, the Mass is medicine. Especially when you don't feel it.
This truth unfolded for me in high school. I first experienced the Eucharist as a little source of strength to get me through that week. And then the next week, I would show up again to get my strength for that week. And the next Sunday, and the next. Because the Eucharist - God dwelling within us, in such a physical way - overflows with grace & healing & strength, coming from a power beyond us. Beyond what we can even understand or be able to tangibly feel or conceptualize as we receive it.
So much happens in the spiritual realm that we may not see or feel, but your testament of just showing up in this life daily with all that you bring - it is an act of faith, an act of courage to hope in the "more" you do not feel in the moment.
Because feelings - they're only fleeting.
- the discouragement, despair, doubt, anxiety -
all of it is fleeting,
but God is not.
This will pass,
& yet God will remain.