See God everywhere, and we will have a deeper and deeper faith in Him. See Him in the sunrise and sunset, in mountain brooks and the mighty oceans, in storm clouds and rainbows, floods and droughts. Every experience has an impact on our lives.
I regularly visit a community in an isolated barrio in the Philippines known only as Landless, to join a gathering of a Basic Ecclesial Community, a movement inviting bishops, priests, religious and laypeople to come together and reflect on their lives in the context of the gospels.
The group in Landless meets frequently. Everyone knows each other by name and shares the word of God, the Eucharist, and both the material and spiritual concerns of their daily lives. There is a strong sense of belonging and mutual responsibility.
As I arrived on one rather wet day, I found things were in disarray, as the area of the barrio designated for the meeting that day was under water. Our numbers were down because of the havoc caused by the emergency, leaving the conundrum of what to do, postpone or press on.
The determination of the small group to continue as usual despite the disruption surprised me and gave me an insight into the depth of appreciation for the support these gatherings provide for the people that give the community its lifeblood.
Their desire and longing for God to be part of their community life is enormous and even though the only possible place the small group could gather was beside the slush of a busy road, the decision was unanimous: press on as planned.
I was moved when one mother said, “With God, all things are possible.” Despite the limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, something is empowering these people to have faith in God no matter what. Their sharing that day inspired me. The struggle to find jobs or ways of supporting their families during the limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic has absorbed the major energy of their lives, but floods were not going to get in the way of the mutual support they receive through their little community gatherings. There were still smiles on their faces.
As I recall that day, I realize I have learned a lot from these people. Sometimes I need to pause and reflect on my faith, because faith is not an option for us as people of God, it is, and must remain, a way of life.
If we believe and trust God, all things are possible, so as we walk the path of our faith, we see not obstacles, but opportunities, ways of allowing our lives to reflect the faith we have in God. The people of Landless are teaching me to fear nothing and pray about everything.
Columban lay missionary Latai Muller lives and works in the Philippines.