Dear Brothers & Sisters,
I’m surprised how all the bad and crazy news still shocks us. Whether the massive shootings, corruption in politics, wars in some parts of the world, new studies about depression and suicide among teens, etc… I believe they shock us because it’s not normal. We know what is the good to be pursued and the evil to be avoided. However, there are times that we don’t have the strength to do what we are called to do. There appears, once again, the need of a community that supports us. As we prepare ourselves to enter into Lent, let’s reflect a bit more how much we need help.
Society teaches that we should be auto-sufficient to our needs and financially stable. Education and health are always the top priorities in life. However, we tend to sacrifice much of our lives to attend to those goals. As a consequence, we can easily isolate ourselves from our friends and family, and from God as well. Through the old saying of “you can do it”, or “I need to push harder”, we can easily end up with burnouts, depression, and other issues. I believe that the danger lies in either not attaining our goals or getting worn out. The former leads to frustration, depression, sadness, and it leads us to dangerous places, such as substance abuse and even suicidal tendencies. The latter can lead us to depression, mental illness and social isolation. Therefore, this does not appear to be a sound strategy for life.
The Old Testament is full of stories to what happens when the people of Israel tried to be independent from God. Usually they ended up conquered by one of their enemies or some other tragic fate. God, as a father, teaches the people to lean on Him. Already under Abraham, God makes the promise to give him a child and a land that He Himself will deliver for Abraham. In the whole account of the Exodus, God is the one who delivers the people from slavery, opens the Red Sea, and provides for them in the desert. There are other passages that God uses the relationship of father-child to His people to teach them to rely on him. And by rely on Him, it means to rely as a nation, as a community, not as a collection of individuals. It is the people of God that He chooses to redeem. Here we see the importance of having a community and to enter into a path to learn to lean on God and not to be independent.
This (Ash) Wednesday, Feb 22, is the start of Lent, which provides us an opportunity to seek the help from God. There are the traditional ways in which we fast, give alms, and pray, and do the stations of the cross at 6pm, but there are other ways in which we can be helped. We can also look for other opportunities to engage the community. Whether joining Saint Vincent de Paul, Bible Study, the Monday Cenacle, we are called to be together. For those that need some extra help, maybe someone who struggles to forgive, to feel loved by God or to love like God, or feels lost, or if you know someone who feels that way, We will be having a Series of Talks Mondays and Thursdays starting February 27th at 7:30pm in Meehan Hall. God cares about you. Christ is coming looking for you. Come and listen.
Slowly as we approach one another, our community will grow closer and stronger, and able to create a “new culture”, or better said, rescue our true identity as Christians on the journey to heaven. No Christian should ever be by himself, no matter what, so let’s extend our hands to help those in need or to be helped ourselves.
Father Steven Clemence