I never used to cry and I was proud of it.

Raised by two teenage parents, on government assistance, wanting stability and a steady routine, I didn’t cry.

During my year at Christ in the City, visiting friends on the street in the hospital, hearing their most heart-wrenching stories, accompanying them through loss and relapse, I never shed a tear.

When I moved back to New York City and found myself overwhelmed, without a community, trying to adjust to the radically changed Catholic life I was now living, nothing.

I deemed this quality one of strength and self-control and labeled it as a positive character trait.

Until all of the sudden, I began to get emotional at the start of Mass. At first, I ignored it, sucked in the tears welling up in my eyes, and blamed it on the stress of school. Then it happened again…and again, and again.

Seeking guidance from my spiritual director to help navigate this new foreign territory of my being (and secretly hoping I could just blame it away on stress), I was gently reminded I had been desiring to feel Jesus in my heart and to grow in deeper trust with Him.  

So the next time I was in Mass and got emotional, I tested Jesus. Carefully allowing myself to attend to the bizarre flux of emotions I was experiencing, I allowed a single tear to fall. In the smallest act of resignation, Jesus was there, waiting.

Now in my moments of loneliness, insecurity, sadness, shame, guilt, and fear, when I surrender the tiniest white flag I can find in my bag of human imperfections, He floods my heart. In his always patient, often quiet, loving perfection, He captures my emotions allowing me to feel, to cry, to take my heart and be stolen by Him.

Erica served as a CIC year-long missionary from 2017-2018, She is currently attending graduate school at Columbia University.