When We Begin to Understand Our Nothingness

There is nothing more enticing than to plan our entire schedule around a singular event, in this case the solar eclipse, only to find our nothingness among God’s greatness. In a fast-paced world, much of society is overcome with daily demands that usually connect us to technology. As necessary as technology may be, it also quickly envelopes us into a self-absorbing world where we forget to focus our eyes on the reason for our existence – God and eternal life.

When an event, such as the solar eclipse, travels across the United States, the world stops. We wait for a miracle, something that can be explained by science, but still draws our imagination into an unknown world. We wait and watch for the wonder to begin, even if that means we must drive hours to reach the path of totality, and several more hours to return home after the traffic jam. This wonder and excitement brings us together as a society, but it does something even bigger. We are brought together as God’s loving creatures with a unified desire to witness a “miracle”. The solar eclipse is one circumstance that proves our thirst for something bigger than ourselves – a reason for our existence and proof that each one of us, each animal, each tree, has a specific place in this world.

As we search for this extraordinary experience, we fail to remember that we have an even more powerful miracle present at our finger-tips each and every day – the Holy Eucharist. It is not always easy in this busy world to remain transfixed upon the King of Kings, present in the Tabernacle twenty-four hours a day, but it is necessary that we strive each day to focus our attention upon his presence in this world. We can comfort in recognizing her similarities to St. Peter who only remained steady while walking on water when his eyes rested upon Our Lord. St. Peter only began to sink when his attention was redirected to the winds and dangers surrounding him. And as this dear apostle began to sink, Our Lord reached out his hand without hesitation and said “why did you doubt me?” (Matthew 14:31) It was the worldly distractions that brought St. Peter to lose faith in Jesus, just as we too often do ourselves.

If we continue to search for consolations among God’s creations, we will never find true happiness. Yes, we can marvel at these beauties and intricacies that God created out of love, but we must remember that these are only a small glimpse into His majesty. We are beginning to sink as we dwell upon the shifting winds and tragedies of the world, just as St. Peter also lost focus. It is easy to forget that our desire for goodness and wonder is oftentimes empty. The focus has become distorted as we search for a solution in the empty pleasures of this world. We can admire the forces of nature and the natural wonders, but we ultimately must remember that these are natural wonders created by God who is much greater than any astronomical event.

The interior struggle between body and soul is real and it pulls us in many directions, just as St. Peter began to sink into the water. Yet, there is only one way to rise above the tide, and that is with the Holy Eucharist. As Catholics, we must focus our attention on our purpose – to know, love, and serve God not only in this world, but with the desire to do so in heaven too.

The winds are strong, but so are the graces of God and no matter where the path of totality may lay for the solar eclipse in seven years, Our Lord will always remain steadfast in all the Tabernacles throughout the world. So, as much as we can admire this astronomical occurrence, there is a more perfect miracle waiting for us each second of every day and that is the True Body and Blood of Christ present in all the Tabernacles. That is where we will find everlasting life, that is where we will remain focused on Our Lord and our reason for our existence, that is where we will find God’s love for us. Just as God created the heavens and the earth, so He created us with an overflowing fountain of love and mercy, but it is up to us to reach for those Divine Graces. Our Lord does not force us to love, our free will is a gift. But in order to desire these graces, we must recognize our weakness and nothingness with the desire to give up control because God has a much bigger and better plan. Just as we admired the solar eclipse, we also accepted the loss of the sun for a few minutes and welcomed the miracle that lay within that loss. So, let’s search for the miracles within the Holy Eucharist, and when we recognize our nothingness only then will we be able to focus our attention solely on God and His Majesty.

Danielle Marie Heckenkamp


Danielle Marie Heckenkamp is a writer, blogger, part-time paralegal, wife, and mom of four little ones. Danielle is a monthly contributor for Catholicmom.com and is an occasional guest on The Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio. Danielle is the co-author of a manners and commonsense book and she is working to complete her current non-fiction manuscript about motherhood. Danielle is a coffee-drinking, Midwest girl, who loves to spend time with her family, attempt outlandish recipes, and read any book she can get her hands on. You can find more of Danielle's writing at Loving These Days or step inside her daily life at her instagram account (@dmheckenkamp)

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • noelfitz

    I regret to say I disagree fundamentally with this article. We are not nothing. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, made in the image and likeness of God, who thought us worth loving.

    But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Pet. 2:9 NAB).

  • C-Marie

    Using the word “nothingness” has been used for ages. It is not new, but it is as untrue now as always. It is true that God created only using His power, so if “nothingness” refers to His Power, it is wrong again and if it refers to His creating us without using created material, in Genesis, then from that vantage point it is correct. But we do not have “nothingness” in our beings, we are made in God’s image and likeness. We do owe our existence entirely to God keeping us in existence. But Jesus certainly did not suffer and die for “nothingness” us. God bless, C-Marie

  • Ramanie Weerasinghe

    Thank you Danielle for this wonderful article. God bless you and your family.

  • Patty

    Living in the material world, one cannot easily experience the “nothingness” that is joined with the Crucified Christ – it is a very powerful, painful, prayerful, life-changing experience. The torturers took His only garment and then took His only Life. Jesus became nothing and God gave Him the experience of not being with Him. That this Nothingness of Being Jesus experienced is what He shares in the Eucharist – whether we know it or not. It is part and participle of the exchange of the human creature’s corrupt nature (body, mind, and soul) with the Divine Physician’s Supernatural Healing. Yes, we all receive it through the Eucharist, but the Grace to really know it comes from God and in knowing it – the Divine Experience of Nothingness, one isn’t so exuberant about trying to replace it with comforts of the material world…why? Because as St. Peter writes in one of his letters, “Can you not feel Him burn within?” Whoever turns back to furrow in the worldliness of material success, cannot have ever experienced the “Nothingness” the author is trying to speak of. When St. Paul wrote that his former life was as empty as a void (my words), St. Paul had fully rejected and renounced any material or worldly or emotional or mental possessions because the force of the Light became the only goal for his soul. I mean think about it – after being created, how can one be nothing? And yet the “Nothingness of Being” is the apex of the exchange of God’s Light with our corrupt natures. It’s a hard place to find and in finding, not find…..etc., etc. Good book is “The Cloud of Unknowing.”