Several years ago I wandered the streets of Taos, New Mexico anxious, lonely and sad because I had no place to stay and no money to get a place. I heard about a woman named Merry Sunshine who regularly welcomed the stranger and fed the hungry. It was nine o’clock at night when I knocked on her door. She told me I could stay, to put my things over there, did I want something to eat? I was overcome with relief.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” I don’t know if there are more hopeful and comforting words in the New Testament, or in the history of words itself. There is a balm, there is shelter. There is a person who is not only a wise spiritual teacher pointing to peace and comfort. He himself is peace. He himself is rest.

What I found in the home of a woman with a commune-baby name was like some kind fainter wattage of what there is in Christ. Knowing him doesn’t instantly banish the hard moments of life. It does offer hope to get through them, a place to go when they come, a safe refuge in a dark fearful night.

—Joe Hoover, S.J. is a Jesuit brother writing and acting in New York. He serves as poetry editor of America magazine and also works at St. Ignatius Grammar School.