by Msgr. Steven A. Ferrari
“IT’S NOT THE news that any of us hoped that we would hear; it’s not the road we would have chosen.” These are the opening lines of Ellie Holcomb’s song “Find You Here.”
Over the past several years, having found the Contemporary Christian music station on Sirius XM Radio, I find inspiration and hope from the lyrics of many songs. From Mercy Me to Danny Gokey, Casting Crowns to Natalie Grant, these 21st-century composers and singers often hit the nail on the head when it comes to understanding the workings of the human heart and spirit in its relation to a loving God of mercy and consolation.
“You’re shattered like you’ve never been before; the life you knew in a thousand pieces on the floor. And words fall short in times like these, when this world drives you to your knees.” (“Tell Your Heart to Beat Again”)
Awaiting – and then receiving – the doctor’s reports on the biopsy a few months ago, sent me back again and again to these spiritual songs.
While on my annual priests’ retreat in Oceanside, Calif., during that time of waiting, I would read the printed-out lyrics of seven songs every morning upon arising and then again every night before retiring. The words and the message gave me encouragement and reassurance.
Casting Crowns’ song “Just Be Held” reminds me, “You’re not alone, stop holding on, and just be held. … Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.”
The songs speak to me of letting go and surrendering to God. Trust the Lord, and all will be well. I’m not in control, but One who truly loves me is.
Step Into the Light
“Tell your heart to beat again. Close your eyes and breathe it in. Let the shadows fall away; step into the light of grace. … Loves sees farther than you ever could. In this moment heaven’s working everything for your good.” (“Tell Your Heart to Beat Again”)
Uncertainty and fear may surround me. But each step of the way, I am not alone.
“I didn’t know I’d find You here in the middle of my deepest fear, but You are drawing near. You are overwhelming me with peace.” (“Find You Here”)
Letting Go Is the Only Way
Yes, it’s hard to let go, to not be able to control – especially for an obsessive-compulsive like me! Yet it’s the only way – the way to true surrender, as St. Therese of the Little Flower understood so well in her brief life on earth.
“Oh my soul, oh, how you worry. Oh, how you’re weary, from fearing you lost control. This was the one thing you didn’t see coming. … Oh my soul, you are not alone. There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know. One more day, He will make a way. Let Him show you how; you can lay this down ‘cause you’re not alone.” (“Oh My Soul,” Casting Crowns)
I’ve always tried to lay my burdens and cares down at the foot of the cross. Now its deeper meaning is so much more real for me.
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal. So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart. Come as you are.” (“Come As You Are,” Crowder)
Msgr. Ferrari is the pastor of St. Teresa’s parish in Woodside.