Keep Your Eyes on God

A Letter to Our Survivor-Readers

By Teresa Pitt Green

Hello dear friend,

It’s been quiet around here since the grand jury report in Pennsylvania hit the press. So. much. silence.

We hide in silence at times. Is that where you are? Are you hurting, hiding, isolating?

Sometimes silence is restorative, creative.

Sometimes healing.

Is this silence helping you?

Is it the best retreat from all the noise lately? The cacophony sure has been building. Today the Vatican summit began to address issues of child protection, bishop accountability and transparency on a global scale.

Some say the summit could be big. Some say not.

Some say it must succeed or else.

Some say too little, too late. Some hope.

You know me. I’m more of a person-to-person person, so I hadn’t paid much attention. Or, I thought I was not paying attention. Then, yesterday the nerves in my memories began to quiver. You know the feeling of a psychic burn.

My go-to is music.

I’ve listened to a song titled “Come to Me” a lot. It has helped me a bit. One line in the lyrics I keep waiting for:

  • Don’t look to the right or the left. Keep your eyes on Me.

It’s not bad enough we all have our own version of my psychic burn lately. There’s the relentless conflict between left and right points of view hijacking the issue of abuse for unrelated agenda items.

  • Don’t look to the right or the left. Keep your eyes on Me.

Life or death. Focus or distraction. In Deuteronomy 5:32, God keeps it simple, naming the focus He offers and the distractions to avoid.

  • So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left.

We have the path God has laid before us, leading us out of the hell of abuse. Looking left or right is a sure way to lose our way. Proverbs 4:27 is more direct about keeping to course in holy pursuits:

  • Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.

At the end of time, in Revelations 10:2, the scale of the thing appears, with Jesus Christ revealing His sovereignty and triumph, over left and right, He presides as the sole focus.

  • … and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land.

The Lord’s arms open to all extremes, even in places that look most like defeat, as in Luke 22:33:

  • When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.

Don’t confuse all the noise on the left and the right with meaning. No matter how disorienting the din of conflict in our Church can become, there is a path for you, and you alone. Whether or not it’s obvious, that path is leading you home to God. His whisper is what matters, not the roar and not the conceit. Our individual destinies remain the same, regardless of what other Catholics say and regardless of how this summit unfolds.  .

The task before us is listening for His voice.

His voice will lead us further into our individual calling along our way home.

Isaiah (30:20-22) is reassuring us that even in the current day, when there is already a dust storm from dysfunctional systems crumbling to ruin, the path is still there. It may be obscured. There is still a way forward that is sure. So, before you contribute to change or before you decide to walk away from the faith, first, listen for His voice. Remain true to your path. It is of His design.

  • Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”

Listening for the whisper of the Lord is my favorite way to pray, although as a survivor I feel guilty I’m not praying right. So it takes courage to find a sunlit place and wait there. It takes courage to listen for a divine whisper. Nerves have been jelly. Work has been impossible. So, I’m just here, courageously waiting for the whisper of God.

Try it. You’ll like it.

It’s time to close my note now.

This note has been my whisper to you, heart to heart, person to person. Remember that Mother Teresa said not to wait for the leaders, to do it person to person. This is a call to action I believe, yet also a secondary priority. The first priority has to do with a whisper in a fog.

He is reaching out to you wherever you may have retreated from the wounding world. Don’t mistake its noise for meaning. Don’t fall prey to the pronouncements from self-defined Catholic experts who cannot, when asked, express even an elementary familiarity with facts about sexual abuse of children or vulnerable people.

Stand tall, friend. Our expertise is a lived experience of hell and Resurrection. While it has not been a path any sane person would choose, our suffering is becoming our treasure of wisdom and compassion critical in this wounded world. Ours is an uncommon Son-light in a dark time. Shine on.

Focus on God. Listen for the Signal within the noise. Open your hiding place to  His Spirit. That’s how I’m riding out the summit with my rattled nerves and cautious hope, along the lines of 1 Peter 1:13:

  • Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope, completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I promise you this: Summits will come and go. Efforts will succeed and fail. Evil will persist until the end of time, and the stand against evil will never be easy. It will always have its price. Human effort will achieve great things, and other times will prove fatally flawed. Again and again and again. But God is steadfast, eternal, sovereign, true – and He loves you unconditionally. He whispers to you by name. You are not as lost as you may feel. Listen for the voice of the Eternal Shepherd. Fix your eyes on Him. Keep the faith.

  • Don’t look to the right or the left. Keep your eyes on Me.

Why don’t you give the song a listen?

 

LYRICS

“Come to Me”
(“The Loft Sessions” Version)

I am the Lord your God, I go before you now
I stand beside you, I’m all around you
Though you feel I’m far away,
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you, more than you know

I am the Lord your peace, no evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind, come into my rest
Oh, let your faith arise, lift up your weary head
I am with you wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
And I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
And I am with you wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

Don’t look to the right or to the left
But keep your eyes on me
You will not be shaken
You will not be moved ooh
I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way
Just come to me, come to me, cause I’m all that you need.

(creative commons courtesy permission)

 

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