If you were an attentive listener to our podcasts, or a regular visitor to your website, you may have noticed that the past couple of months we were not publishing podcasts or posts. It seems time to provide an update. Even though the intent was not to take a break, life happened. Rather than a long explanation, let’s just say I encountered some family matters that required my full attention. while these were not life and death matters, it became important to me to do whatever I could to assist a family member. There are times in life when the people we love become the priority because we love them. That is what happened in my life.
So much of healthy living is about striking the right balance in life. Of course, it all begins with seeking God. Whether the events of our life are joyful or sad, a celebration or an event of grief, one of togetherness or loneliness, it all means asking ourselves where is God present in our lives. This requires an effort to place ourselves in situations where it is we are likely to encounter God. Silence, reflection, and spiritual reflections with others. It can mean practicing devotions like praying the rosary. It can mean asking God to help others, like praying for all those impacted by the COVID pandemic.
Without getting into details, this summer was both a lot of work and the realization I received a lot of grace. I worried and was stressed, but God provided the constant reminders in prayer and through others that I was never alone, and that I had little to worry about. The image that was most reassuring to me was offered to me by a very dear friend. He said to me, “Don’t worry about the storm. Focus on Jesus asleep on the cushion.” That was and continues to be such a comfort to me.
That is the truth of our spiritual lives. Sometimes God seems close and we feel on fire for the faith, and other times we do not feel God at all. Mother Teresa said she felt this absence of God throughout much of her life, something other saints have expressed as their relationship with God becomes more and more intense. And given the struggles of the pandemic, and all of the changes that has required from us, it is no wonder that every storm in life seems a little stronger.
What I realized over these past couple of months that it all begins with loving and being loved. If God is love, than every participation we have in loving and in being loved is participation in the love of God. When we love we are acting in a small way in the love that God has in an infinite way. And sometimes in the name of love priorities get changed. Things that were legitimately important at one time become less important when overshadowed by this loving and being loved.
Moving forward means resetting some of the things we started will start over, so that they continue in a wonderful way. We will reset the Friar Book Club and the reading and reflecting on Saint Augustine’s Confessions. We will continue with the homilies, and play again the podcasts on Gifts and Charisms and Fridays with the Fathers. So if some things seem familiar, well, they are.
Let us hope that as we journey together, we will all keep the absolute priority of growing in the love of God and personal holiness at the top of our list.