“Father Jeremiah,” a brother’s voice spoke over the intercom, “a woman is on the phone who would like to talk to a priest.”
“Um, ok…” I responded somewhat hesitantly.
Why I responded hesitantly I am not sure. Quite honestly phone calls like that, someone “needing” to talk to a priest, happen at least a few times a week.
When I answered the call and introduced myself the woman simply responded.
“I recently went to a parish mission…I have been away from church for years…I haven’t been praying…I realize that my life is empty, etc.” And then she said it, “I want to know who God is.”
“Ok…” I responded feeling energized by her honesty. “Would you like to get together so we can talk?”
“Yes,” she responded immediately.
As I scheduled an appointment with her and hung up the phone I stood there repeating her very own words, “I want to know who God is.” The reason, I believe, those words affected me so deeply was because she revealed to me my own heart. It is what I have always wanted and what I still want now, even though that desire often gets distracted and settles for substitutes and idols that only leave me feeling empty and alone.
What I love about this woman’s story is that she allowed her life history to lead her to something more. Surely she had moments of happiness and sadness in her life, moments of light and darkness and everything else in between. Yet, it wasn’t enough. She wasn’t settling for second best. She needed more, hence the cry of her heart, “I want to know who God is.”
May we be so brave!
+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary Harlem, NY
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