by Fr. Bill Hubmann, C.PP.S.

How do you pray when you are so angry that you cannot pray? How do you pray when the darkness overwhelms you? How do you pray when you feel like not even God is listening? “My tears have become my bread by night, by day, as I hear it said all day long: Where is your God?” Where are you God? Can’t you see what’s going on? Help!

Over the past year we have been made painfully aware of our nation’s and our world’s troubles: The pandemic’s 400,000 dead, systemic racism and inequality, economic crisis, looming environmental disaster, social unrest. At times we feel powerless. Is there no one who listens? Is there no one who cares? I am moved to tears. I’m moved to weep.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

The ancient Hebrews believed that it was “tears that make the Messiah come down”. O how we need the Messiah come down. So, let us weep.

In the beginning there was darkness, emptiness, chaos, storms, and turbulent waters everywhere. The darkness and the sea in the Creation story spoke of meaninglessness, hopelessness, lawlessness, disorder, and sin to our ancestors in faith. And so it seems today.

Have you ever wanted to just run away? Jonah did. He found himself deep in the belly of the beast. But God drew him out of the water into the light. He was called. He was saved. He was sent. The Prophet Habakkuk describes humanity in need of redemption: “like the fish of the sea, like creeping things without a ruler.” Jeremiah speaks of the time after the exile: “Look, I will send many fishermen…to catch them and bring them back” Jesus calls simple fishermen from their own tedium of mending and casting, mending and casting, and sends them out to “fish for others.” They are called to be like God, who as with a great net draws us out of the deep, out of the dark, out of the chaos into God’s wonderful light and life. Called to a new way of being. Called to be like God, who draws us together.

If it is “tears that make the Messiah come down” today, then we must weep: “Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord.Come, cast your net over us and save us from the darkness, the turbulence. Bring us into your Holy Light. For this we hope, we wait, we pray.”

Help us also to be “fishers of others” to use the many gifts God has given us, that once called and sent we might help draw others out of the darkness into light.

Lord, fill us with you Spirit and make us priests, prophets, and leaders for this time, fishers for others and fishers for you. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.”

This article appears in the New Wine Press, February 2021