Standing in the Pit of Fear
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” It all sounds so simple – don’t worry! How many times in my life have I been consumed with fear about tomorrow, and someone comes along in my life and says, “Don’t worry.” Often times those words do not offer me comfort or consolation. If anything, they make me angry because when I am in the pit of worry, I do not feel that the person offering me the well-intentioned advice really understands what I am suffering.
Being in the pit of worry – that is a compelling image to describe what we might feel in those moments where we are preoccupied about what might happen to us tomorrow. We literally feel in a pit – and having encouraging voices calling out to us from outside the pit does nothing to console us. But, were one to enter into the pit of fear with us, then I know the consolation of no longer sanding alone in my fear. That is exactly what God does for us in Jesus. He stands in the pit of chaos with us. He did it in Calvary, (“He descended into hell”), and he does it for all people for all times. “I am with you in this, and together we trust in the Father’s providential love.”
This is the call to be in solidarity with those who are consumed with fear – not to offer advice or pious platitudes, but to experience the powerlessness with that person and in union with that person to cry out to God for help. I feel that we as a parish are called by God to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this community who are facing fears regarding their future status in this country. We can stand outside of the “pit” and debate politics and enter into heated discussions as to why a pit even exists in the first place or how “those people” got into the pit. None of that discussion brings solace to those who are actually in the pit. We will hear debates about TPS (“temporary protected status”), DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals), DAPA (deferred action for parents of Americans) and in those debates find ourselves taking sides or hurling invectives against the “other side.”
We may choose to stand outside of the “pit of fear” in our debates and discussions, or we may choose to enter into the pit and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who face these fears on a daily basis. What does that mean? First it means to listen with an open heart. I am praying about ways that this conversation can take place in our parish. Secondly, when all of us can say that we feel that fear and uncertainty with our brothers and sisters, then we pray with them. Again I would like to explore ways in which that mutual prayer can happen. Jesus “descended into hell,” and lovingly chose to enter into the chaos of our lives. In his name may we do the same for one another.