I had an exceptionally trying Lent this year. I felt frustrated, impatient, even to a point where I got angry. I was uncertain about many things which led me to some anxiety. I was rudderless as I felt an absence in my life – I could not feel or hear God even though I pray up to four to five times daily. Nonetheless, I kept my faith in God, pushing on, one step followed by the next. Left, right, left, right, I kept going one foot after the other in a landscape I describe as a desert.
Then before I knew it, the Easter Triduum was upon us. I was so spiritually unprepared. If I could measure my state, it was probably 1 out of 10. “I’m not ready Lord!” I cried, “Help me receive you into my heart! Please Lord! I implore you…”. It was a quiet reply, or should I say, a silent one. I did not hear, feel or received any prompting. The dryness continued, the desert loomed ahead.
So Easter day came and went. Yet, I felt such emptiness. I was still trudging on in a desert with no oasis in sight. But I didn’t lose hope, I kept going with faith and still believed. “Soon.” I said to myself, “He never abandons His faithful.”
Then something special happened.
It was just after Easter and I was at Mass listening to the Gospel. It was about how the disciples were fishing after the Lord had risen and appeared to them. And it was like every weekend for me until this verse,
The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” John 21:7
When those words were read, it felt like I was being sucked into the narrative. It was something I’ve never experienced before during mass.
Immediately, I became Peter who was feeling anxious, tired, guilty and yet hopeful. At that moment when John said “It is the Lord”, my heart leapt like it was finally awakened after a long slumber. Beating harder and harder, as I breathed faster and faster.
Peter Jumps into the Water by James Tissot
I felt the pull of Peter’s arms with every stroke – unafraid, hopeful, anticipating. The grit of the sand as he climbed out of the water. Exhausted, but still running towards the campfire, halting as he drew close to Jesus.
Then I heard the words leave my mouth, “My Lord, my God.”
I saw Jesus lifting his head from tending to the fire and smiled at me. And my heart burst into joy. Easter came to this unworthy servant. Be faithful as He is faithful.