Let the Redeemer’s Name Be Sung

Alright, maybe I lied about the next time posting being from Jerusalem. I feel inclined to write again before I leave in a couple weeks.

About a month ago, I started to feel very anxious about this trip ahead of me. Violence had escalated in the Middle East with hundreds of rockets being fired between Israel and Hamas, I was struggling to finish my thesis proposal, and I felt uneasy getting used to the idea that I was now beginning my last year as a Providence College student. So, I began a novena to St. Thérèse, asking for peace: peace in the Holy Land, peace in my life, and peace in whatever God had in store for my future. Just like that, the theme of peace began to pop up everywhere—in sermons at Mass, in conversations with friends, everywhere. I felt reassured day by day, and I am still feeling the blessings from that. Why should I be afraid, nervous, unsure? The hand of Providence is at work, and even in the most turbulent of situations, the machinations of Divine Providence always end in the peace of the Lord. Peace is a gift from God, one badly needed and one that I know will be key in undertaking this fellowship experience with courage. All I had to do was ask to see it. Going forward, I must ask.

These past few months, I’ve received this question over and over again, sometimes several times a day: “Are you excited to go?” I almost feel guilty at the lack of enthusiasm found in my voice by this point from answering it so much. I am not excited. It’s more than that: I am so humbled as I prepare for this journey that excitement does not even begin to describe what I feel. I think to myself, “What have I done to deserve this?” My pride rushes in to reassure me that my talents and strengths have led me here. But after reflection, these always fade away. I am left with this journey before me, knowing I have done nothing to deserve so great an opportunity. It is a gift. At the end of the day, it is nothing but a wonderful gift that the Lord will use to some purpose in my life.

And, ultimately, as I prepare to go to the Holy Land for six weeks, one sentiment pervades my heart and mind: joy. God Himself is handing me this gift. Are we not filled with joy when someone who loves us gives us a gift? The Lord has showered me with too many gifts to count, and this is the next one. He gives it to me for a reason. Perhaps it will be to show me down a path I would not have seen as clearly without this opportunity. Perhaps it is to do Him some small service. Whatever it is, I grow more confident and reassured in His plans for me day by day. Should my logical answer to His kindness not be to spread His peace and His love throughout my trip in whatever way He makes possible? As I was packing up to leave Providence and go home for a couple weeks before I leave, I began listening to an old Shape Note hymn called Bridgewater. I probably listened to it three hundred times. I attached a recording of it being sung at the bottom, and I encourage you to listen to it. A short little thing, it is nonetheless beautiful and stirring, and it sums up the gratitude and hope I feel at this moment. I have a feeling I will be humming this on the plane bound for the Holy City and whatever my Redeemer has in store for me. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for me.


From all that dwell below the skies,

Let the Redeemer’s praise arise:

Let the Redeemer’s name be sung

Through ev’ry land by ev’ry tongue.

(Lyrics by Lewis Edson, 1782)

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