“I don’t see him!” shouted my two-year-old across the silent church as the priest placed the consecrated hosts back in the tabernacle and locked it following communion. A few moments later, the Deacon came out with the monstrance to prepare for Eucharistic adoration. The minute she saw the gleaming gold contraption, she threw her hands in the air and shouted “Yay! Dere He is!” After Mass, she grabbed my hand, made me genuflect allll the way down to the floor (she becomes rather indignant when I try to phone it in and don’t actually meet my knee to the floor) and take her over to the crucifix to “see Jesus’ boo-boos.” Two-year-olds have these beautiful moments of clarity, where they cut through all the confusion and mystery, and just see Jesus for who He is: our savior who loves us unendingly and meets us anywhere and everywhere we are. She has other moments as well - moments that humble me in other ways, like the day she shouted “Get out of my heart Jesus” right in the middle of a very silent consecration. But I try to focus on the positive, less cringe-y parenting moments.
“I want to see” was the response Bartimaeus gave to Jesus when asked what He wanted of the Savior in the Gospel of Mark. Like the blind man, we are all seeking Jesus. There have been times in my life when I have found Jesus in the taking up of a very heavy cross. He is there with us in our suffering, instructing us by His very example how to suffer well. Jesus has also allowed me to find Him in times of great consolation, when I can just bask in the blessings He is so generously bestowing on me. Interestingly, I find that those very fruitful and grace-filled times are only possible following a time of true suffering and difficulty, when I am finally able to see what Jesus was accomplishing in the darkness - something only visible to us in retrospect. Only Jesus knows what impediments we need removed so that we can follow Him, and which difficulties seem to us to be impediments but are, in fact, necessary stepping stones along the path He calls us to follow Him. The beauty of believing in an all-good, all-loving God is having confidence that any suffering He doesn't heal, He uses to accomplish something even greater.
Jesus reveals Himself to me anywhere I choose to seek Him with a sincere heart, including in the soft, warm, fuzzy head of my newborn baby, as I breathe in his sweetness during a peaceful, if exhausting, middle of the night feeding (even though I know in two short hours I have to wake up the overly tired and grumpy elementary school kiddos). I’m quite sure that Jesus can even reveal Himself in said grumpy elementary school children or tantrum-ing toddler who all suddenly forget how to dress themselves - because it's 6:30 in the morning and they are tired - because He is God, and He can do the impossible.
The challenge and the key to finding Jesus in all the ways He desires to be close to us is to seek Him constantly, with frequent, ongoing prayer. Sometimes our prayer can be an entire rosary. Other times, it’s a quick, sometimes desperate, but extremely genuine call for His help. And still others, it’s a frustrated remark to the only Person who knows you as intimately as He does and thus the only one who could understand. I have discovered that the more I seek Him, the more I find Him in the most unsuspecting, little places that I would never expect, not because they are so monumental, but because they are so small. But that is our God - an infinite God who created the cosmos and all of the matter in it - who cares enough to help us make it on time to school pickup or comfort our frustrated children when we can’t, a God who is big enough to create and sustain life itself, but small enough to hear our smallest prayer and be with us in our daily suffering and rejoicing.