Dedicated to Research and Reflection in Formative Spirituality




About Us Programs Staff Links Contact Us


Eileen Young of Salem, MA reflects on the promise delivered in Matthew 28:20: “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I Am With You Always

by Eileen Young

January 14, 2011

alwaysTo hear someone say they will be with you is powerful.  A young child’s fear on the first day of school is calmed by a parent’s promise to be right there with them at the end of the school day.  When we are afraid the presence of another is comforting.  To be accompanied is thus a human need, since one is so often alone.  The promise to “be with” may be sincere, but hardly without limits.

    I had a clarinet teacher I adored and valued as a friend throughout high school.  Yet for the two most important events of my musical career he was absent.  The first was District band qualifying auditions, and the other my college senior recital.  I survived and won the hoped-for results in both.

    On the night before my wedding I invited my dad out on a dinner date for an intimate father-daughter farewell.  I envisioned how wonderful it would be to have him with me to grieve this last night under his roof.  Instead, with my entree, I got a stern lecture on fidelity and my duty as a Catholic to bear children.  I was disappointed and left without adequate closure-or at least without the fairy tale ending I had envisioned.  The following day’s wedding joined me to the love of my life even though the tenderness of being given away by Dad was less than expected.

    A few years earlier when my favorite had grandparent died, I lost my mentor and confidant.  My paternal grandmother was to me the embodiment of all I wished my parents could have been for me.  We were there for each other and eased each other’s loneliness.  Navigating young adulthood would have been easier with her by my side.

    A reflection by Oswald Chambers on Matthew 28 interprets Jesus as charging the disciples to teach and preach as witnesses to their lived experiences of him.  For Chambers this promise of Jesus assures us that even in situations of human absence... “where we are placed is a matter of indifference; God engineers the goings.” (My Utmost for His Highest).

     “I will be with you always.”

    Although no human can fulfill that promise, in faith we believe the words of Jesus and are sustained.  Are we meant to bury ourselves in the Bible and declare Jesus as our only companion?  I don’t think so.  But I do believe that, in faith, the words of Jesus matter.  We are called both to embrace the promise and to embody these words to the best of our ability.

Copyright © 2007 [Resources in Spiritual Formation].

All rights reserved.

Last updated: 11/25/10.