He Was Beside Me All Along

“Love transfigures everything and touches the most banal realities with the note of infinity.”

– Father Jacques Philippe

On a mission trip to Albany, New York, I served parishes and communities in the surrounding cities over spring break. As I sat on the plane on the way back to school, I began to process and reflect on all the ways the Lord moved on the trip, and these are the only words that can even begin to encapsulate what it was like to go on mission there.

These words from Father Jacques Philippe in his book Interior Freedom are used to describe the life of St. Therese of Lisieux, a saint who magnified the Lord in her littleness. Her life was seemingly simple and ordinary, but because she loved so much, she gave Jesus permission to take her ordinary life and make it extraordinary. I have been praying with this quote all semester, pondering what it could mean for my own life, and I can now say I was able to see these words play out in my own life. Jesus came and touched my heart, touched my life, and transformed a seemingly ordinary reality and place into an extraordinary one.

Since the trip, the biggest thing on my heart is how Jesus can take anything and make it holy. He can touch something and give it meaning. He came and drew beauty out of a seemingly ordinary place. He showed me when people are willing to show up and love, he can do anything. Love sanctifies. Love makes holy.

Something the Lord has put on my heart more recently, especially this past Easter season, is how so many times we can miss the true meaning of every moment of every day. I know I have for so many years. We get so caught up in life as if Easter was a 1-day occasion as if the Resurrection was something that happened once and never again, we forget the Resurrection and Easter joy reoccurs in our hearts every single day. All the prayers we say and things we fast from leading up to this season make space for life’s true meaning. We make space for Love itself to enter into our lives and transfigure absolutely everything. We allow Jesus to reorientate our desires and purify our hearts so that we may be transformed from glory to glory and have the freedom to love. Brothers and sisters, life is all about love! Let us love!

We don’t have to go far to find Jesus.

He’s so close to us. He is in the person sitting next to you, the people you encounter in ordinary day-to-day life. He is in the depths of your heart. Every person is looking for Jesus. Let us encounter each other and let Love make himself known right there. Jesus speaks loudly in the simple, in the hiddenness, and in the silence. Jesus is constantly pursuing our hearts with every breath we take. I think I always knew that in my head, but he gave me eyes to see that with my heart in Albany. Let us live incarnated. Let us open our arms to be received and to receive others so that one day we may stretch out our arms on the cross and say, “This is my body given for you.”

As we go forth from wherever we are right now, may we help restore his kingdom on earth with the simple love we have to offer, knowing that Jesus touches the simple and makes it extraordinary and divine, just as he came down from heaven, touched humanity, and made it holy. May we allow Jesus to do the same thing in our lives today, and may his grace make everything we touch holy.

Jesus, soften my heart to Your love and how You want to show up in my life beyond this Easter season. Give me the grace to allow Love to touch my heart and transfigure my reality. Amen.