Reaching Out

By Jessica Coblentz

Lately, I’ve been going to Mass all the time. Every day, almost. I joke with my friends that I’ve turned into an eighty-year old woman—one of those revered, ever-faithful, daily-Mass-going matriarchs. I didn’t think 23-year-old, left-wing, suspicious theology students like me could become that woman. But, come noon, I find myself on one of those green-cushioned pews again and again.

Why? May and June have confronted me with brokenness in relationships, in the people around me, in our greater world, and in myself. Consequently, I have immensely longed for stability, strength, and peace, particularly the kind I found in God during other similar seasons of life. One day, after weeks of praying “Where are You in the midst of all this!?,” I slipped into daily Mass. It was not an especially exceptional liturgy, yet I left feeling like I had reached out and had a small but significant encounter with God. And something in me shifted, just a little.

I keep showing up, shuffling down the aisle with the crowd, and reaching out to hold that small, round sacrament in my hand because of this really inexplicable sense that it changes something inside of me. I am better off, just a little. I am healing.

I have identified with few Gospel tales as much as I do with this Sunday’s reading: a woman moves with the crowd, extending her hand to touch, for just a moment, God incarnate. She seeks healing, and something compels her to believe that this encounter will change something. The Gospel says, “she fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.” That’s the desperate me every day at Mass lately, and I think that is often a fitting image of faith for so many of us.

Many of us are compelled, often mysteriously, to reach out to God in the Catholic tradition. To keep holding onto the moments when we had, and continue to have, encounters with God there. I pray that we will keep showing up and reaching out to God with the audacious faith of this woman in the Gospel reading.

Jessica Coblentz writes from Seattle, WA where she is spending her summer immersed in German language classes in preparation for graduate studies at Harvard Divinity School this fall. Follow her writing on the Web at


One Response

  1. Thanks for posting this. When I first moved to Boston, I had a very similar experience. I felt drawn to attend daily Mass in a way I couldn’t explain, and when the 20 minute Mass with no music left me in tears, I thought I had totally lost it. Ultimately, it was a beautiful safe space for me for many weeks until my work schedule made it impossible to continue.

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