My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
My recent emails to you have been lengthy due to the amount of information I needed to share with you. So, today I’m going to give you a break and make this message a bit shorter. You can thank me later!
Even though we will keep the same weekend schedule for our “drive by” reception of Holy Communion (Saturday from 5:00 p.m. – 5:20 p.m., Sunday from 8:30 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. and again from 10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.), I very much want to urge you all to be very cautious about going outside except for necessities. The forecast is for extreme heat, and that could have serious impact on us all. In fact, forecasters are saying that temperatures here will be around 109 on Saturday afternoon and 111 on Sunday afternoon. We will take what precautions we can concerning the reception of Holy Communion outside here at Cabrini, so I hope to be seeing many of you at one of the three times listed above.
Please treat yourselves to a gentle reading of the Scripture readings for this weekend, and pay particular attention to the second reading. It is Romans 8:18-23. Paul begins by writing:
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”
He goes on a little further down and writes:
“We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
How timely! I fear that I often suffer from spiritual myopia, a serious condition in which I focus only on the present difficulties rather than seeing beyond them to what great things are promised to those who do not allow those difficulties to defeat them. We groan in ourselves about what is going on around us right now, and sometimes that groaning, rather than being turned into prayer, is turned into complaint and impatience. How often I have recently heard people say, “Father, I just plain don’t like all this!” Well, if I could, I would kiss it and make it all better again, but this father just can’t do that! What I can do is to try to encourage you just as Paul did when he wrote to the little church in Rome. He used the analogy of giving birth. I’ve been in delivery rooms, and I’ve heard the moans and, yes, sometimes the screams of pain as women give birth to their children. But even though there is residual pain and weariness experienced afterwards by those moms, I’ve also brought those little lives into the parents’ room after we had washed and wrapped them up in warm blankets. The gentle expressions of joy as those parents embrace that new life with all of its promise is something that I remember to this day. Can you even begin to imagine what joy will fill the heart of our Heavenly Father on the last day when His children will be eternally swept up into his loving arms because they will have endured every hardship and remained faithful to their covenant with him? So, let us continue to pray that God will strengthen each one of us to face these difficult times with deep hope for what awaits us in eternity.
With deepest brotherly love in Christ,