Being held in community - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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While the coronavirus has not yet hit Tanzania as hard as it has other areas of the world, it is causing great uncertainly at this time.

My reflection today takes me back to Henri Nouwen’s journal The Inner Voice: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom (Image 1996). He has written short, pithy chapters that seem to grab at my heart and squeeze it. There is usually only a page describing what he was learning during some of his most difficult hours—a place of darkness for him.

During this time, our world has entered into a darkness of uncertainty, anxiety and restlessness as we deal with this virus. We are challenged in ways that we have never experienced in our lifetime before and we are asked to bring light and to be light.

How can this be?

In a simple chapter called “Cry Inward,” Nouwen writes, “You have to move gradually from crying outward—crying out for people who you think can fulfill your needs—to crying inward to the place where you can let yourself be held and carried by God, who has become incarnate in the humanity of those who love you in community. No one person can fulfill all your needs. But the community can truly hold you. The community can let you experience the fact that, beyond your anguish, there are human hands that hold you and show you God’s faithful love. “

This is what I hold dear today—this community, all of you. Missioners, donors, leadership, friends and family—our worldwide community—are holding each one of us. They are God’s faithful love. I just need to trust my worldwide community, and together we will be God’s light to this troubled and darkened world.

I will be held during these uncertain times, and I will also hold each one of you. That is our light.


Liz Mach
Liz Mach served for 44 years (1976 - 2000) as a women’s rights and health advocate and practitioner in East Africa. Now returned to Minnesota, she is Maryknoll Lay Missioners' longest-serving missioner.