Embracing Hope in a Time of Chaos
We live in a time of chaos and fear. Our country is in turmoil, people are lashing out, and violence is on the rise. Yet as faith-filled people we are called to hope. No one knows what awaits us, but our faith can root us in the present and spare us unnecessary anxiety and worry. This retreat will help us to remember that our hope is in Jesus Christ Our Lord!
No matter the times we live in, events are fluid, they flow forward, but what direction is anyone’s guess. We can have long periods when we are under the illusion that the flow of time is a straight line, at least according to our subjective, and cultural experience. However, that is truly a false notion.
There is a phrase “Life turns on a dime”. It can be a good turn for us, or it can go the other direction. These sudden turns can wake us up to the existential reality of our fragility, to the uncertainty of life. We all have these experiences, again which can go both ways.
Today, the world is experiencing this collectively. We each as individuals, have to adapt to the situation. How that happens depends on our deeply held perceptive of life. No matter what our stance, I doubt anyone can say that things are going well, running smoothly. We have really entered a time when we really do not know how things will turn out. It is easy to see chaos happen in other countries, for bad things only happen to others, or so we can fool ourselves into feeling, not thinking. Yet here we are. The pot is on the stove, the fire high, and the water is boiling to overflowing. It has taken on a life of its own, and the different perspectives that people have are issues of deep conflict. Some are speaking of civil war, again. Anything can happen.
While faith does involve intellectual assent, that is not worth much if it is not lived out from the heart, and understood on a deep intuitive level. We (Catholics) have the Scriptures, tradition, the CCC, sacraments, devotions, and community, which hopefully leads to a deep prayer life. This does not just happen but takes a conscious response to grace.
Living in “interesting times brings the importance of the above to light. Integration of our faith into our everyday life is a lifelong process, and if we do not do that, we will be pulled, uprooted, become confused, and angry, over what is going on today. There will be no place of rest for our hearts, minds, and souls.
While Jesus did say that each day will have its worries, and they need to be dealt with, we get ourselves in trouble when we dwell about what can happen tomorrow. It is understandable, but useless. Worrying about tomorrow is not about planning with faith, but about just wasting time over something that we really have no control over.
Yet, the Lord tells us, “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust: Luke 8:50”. The drum that I am constantly beating is this: Trust is a choice. People tell me that they “try” to trust. I respond: “Don’t try, just do it”. It is an act of the will. That act of the will roots you firmly in reality. That in a time of chaos, fear, and uncertainty, we are accompanied by the Lord.
Times flows, it can spread in many directions, and many of those directions are based on decisions that are made on a cultural level that are actually destructive. Today, as Christians, and others believers on other paths, need to delve into their tradition, and live deeply out of that. Becoming an ideologue is one of the worst ways to do that. We are called to treat others with respect, and to return anger with love, insults with calmness. Not very easy, but that is what the grace of Christ Jesus is calling us to do. To become salt, to become beacons of light for others.
Take root in the love of God, and that will heal our hearts, and bring us to a place of peace in the midst of suffering, chaos, and perhaps some painful endings.-Br.MD