“Hope is practiced through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
I’m a man who likes his sleep and this past week I did not sleep. I was anxious about work, worried about traveling and being away from the family, feeling a little too overwhelmed by all I had on my plate. I don’t know about you, but in the darkness of 2am, my mind can travel some pretty long and unhelpful distances that compound my worry and make it harder and harder to fall asleep. During my week’s travels, I had the privilege of attending a morning Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O’Malley. I almost missed the Mass because I had only fallen asleep a few hours before. As I did that awkward mix of speed walking with spurts of running when no one was watching in order to get to Mass on time, I couldn’t even appreciate the beautiful morning because I still felt the darkness of the night before. As I listened to his homily from the back of the chapel, the Cardinal described his visit to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2010. One of his lasting memories was that despite the devastation, despite having nothing, in the complete darkness of the night, he heard the people singing. They were singing. They were praising the Lord.
The Cardinal’s message was clear and compelling to all gathered. Despite so much darkness in the world, as disciples of Christ, we are called to keep singing the Good News. Being reminded of the plight of the Haitian people helped me put my anxieties in proper perspective, but it also made me rethink my response to my most recent dark nights of the soul. In my fears, in my exhaustion, in my restlessness, what might it do to sing God’s praises in the dark rather than try to calculate what will happen in the morning? How might a posture of praise and gratitude not only be right and just, but also bring me peace? My mind still raced that night, but the soft hum of one of my favorite hymns allowed my worry not to get too far. Prayers for your song of praise to carry you through the night.