I’m Still Here

By Leslie W. Bertucci

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). 

I have lived long enough to see myriad examples of God keeping his promise to be with us always. It should not surprise me when I see fresh evidence of his faithfulness. And yet it does. 

In the early 90’s, there was a college student who led a youth prayer meeting on Sunday nights at a local Catholic high school. At the time, I was a volunteer youth minister bringing teens from my church to the prayer meetings. 

I was impressed by this young man’s passion for the Gospel, his easy rapport with the teens and his lightning-fast guitar strum. I believe it was a life-changing experience for many of those kids, most of whom are now raising families of their own. And, to this day, we all agree: No one plays “Let the Fire Fall” like this guy. 

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. This same young man, now an ordained priest for several decades, was leading worship at a night of praise, prayer and adoration at a local church. His opening song? “Let the Fire Fall” – lightning strum and all. The church was full of young families, including many young adults who could well have been teens at the prayer meeting of yore. 

And then it hit me. He’s still here. This faithful man of God is still doing the same thing he was doing decades ago. With the same zeal, the same passion and the same lightning strum. 

Even though, as a holy priest of God, he must grieve for the number of people who have left the church in the last few decades. And yet, he still shows up, he still says yes. He’s still here. 

But even as that thought struck me, God spoke to my heart: “I’m still here.” 

As I gazed at the glorious Lord present in the Eucharist so beautifully contained in the golden monstrance on the altar, my heart was once again comforted by the promise: “I am with you always.” 

Yes, Lord, you are always faithful. Make us faithful to our baptismal promises so that, someday, as we draw our last breath, we may say to you, “I’m still here.” 

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