With the unsurprising announcement of school closure until the end of the academic year, you may be experiencing a renewed sense of desolation about our current situation. I'm right there with you friends. We as Catholic Christians are fed by Word and Sacrament. It is painful to think about being separated from the Body of Christ in so many ways until we are safe again to gather in our parishes. Even experts are unclear about the timeline, and we are all called to trust on a day-by-day basis about how best to protect ourselves and the ones we love.
In times of extremely desolation we have a choice. We can choose to submit to our grief and sadness and acquiesce to the hopeless spiral of our thoughts. Or, we can double-down on our courage, grit our teeth, and with white-knuckles we can get through this by our own strength.
But perhaps there is a third way. Perhaps our grief, sadness, and desolation are a part of a process that God designed for us? Perhaps we are called to be so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task at hand that we have to submit and let go of our white-knuckled grip on the situation? Perhaps when we submit, and jump out of the plane, the strong parachute cables of God's lovingkindness might gather us into safety? It is likely..
When I am feeling particularly overwhelmed (an emotion I feel frequently, and admit to infrequently) I turn to scripture. But, let me be clear about this (because it's a place where so many Christians begin and end in their quest to dive into God's Word!) it isn't like a magic eight ball! You aren't going to open the bible to a random page and find the exact message God wants you to hear! (Wouldn't that be awesome!?!). Scripture can be dry and frustrating. It can also be mind-blowing, comforting, exhilarating, surprising, unveiling, self-reflecting, chastising, steadying, and habit-forming. Scripture reveals God. It shows us WHO GOD IS.
I once had someone ask me why understanding God's character was so important. It was a question that I've turned over and over in my mind. Here it is: We are made in His image and likeness. In us is the ability to liken ourselves more and more to Him. We can be conformed to God's image. But first, we need to understand the mark we are trying to hit.
The word for 'sin' in Hebrew is "cheit" and is strictly translated as 'missing the mark'. It's an archery term. The slightest angle variation an we are off in left field. THAT is why understanding God's character is so important. We need to know God's character well in order to pattern our lives after His image.
The best image of God in scripture, is in God the Son. So, if you haven't fallen in love with scripture yet, start with a Gospel. Mark is the shortest and a great place to start.
In order to help you approach scripture on a more regular basis we've created a new tab on the blog called "Scripture Study". The first post was composed by our RCIA Director Alan LaFleur, who has put together some incredible resources for you to get started.