Growing up in a large family is not easy, especially if you are one of the younger ones. Oh sure, it’s fine when you are an infant. You are the center of attention-all you have to do is cry and someone changes your diaper, feeds you or solves your problem. That worked for me for about a year or two. I’m not exactly sure when I started hearing statements like: "Stop crying, you’re not a baby anymore; or you’re old enough to do that for yourself." But eventually I heard them.
Of course that didn’t stop me from continuing to think I was the center of the universe, at least my universe. This thinking took awhile to correct, about thirty-eight years to be exact. Oh, God didn’t appear to me in a burning bush or anything like that, but I got the message just the same: "There is a god, and he’s not me." That rude awakening left me lost and finally willing to at first question and then eventually to seek a real god.
That searching which continues to this day thirty-one years later, gives me much hope especially when I read the promise God makes through Jeremiah in today’s scripture passage: "I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (31:33) Yes, I include me in the "them" and "their" and "my people". You of course, can do the same.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.