Message from Father Jay – November 6, 2020

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Several years ago, a brother-priest sent me an article he had read which had deeply touched and encouraged him.  I decided at that time to keep that article because I sensed that it was going to continue to be a source of encouragement to me in future days.  It was written in 2016 by the American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  She began her article with these words, “My friends, do not lose heart.  We were made for these times.  I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered.  They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now.  Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.”

She went on to write, “You are right in your assessments.  The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking.  Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times.  Especially do not lose hope.  Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times.  Yes.  For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement. … There will always be times when you feel discouraged.  I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it.  I will not entertain it.  It is not allowed to eat from my plate.”

I returned to this article again this week because, after doing a little self-assessment, I realized I was starting to fall victim to a couple of things that are becoming too common in our society: Covid fatigue and political campaign fatigue.  Then, in God’s gentle mercy, I was reminded of the wisdom that had been shared with me in the above-mentioned article.  I found it, read it through several times, and am now much encouraged because of being called back to the importance of my own personal calling in Christ.

Having experienced that level of fatigue has made our Gospel reading so important for me, and I hope that as you reread this very familiar parable you’ll also find yourself being lifted up and encouraged anew.  The reading is from Matthew 25:1-13, and is the parable of the 10 virgins.  In a nutshell, five of the virgins had long since ceased to be vigilant.  They hadn’t kept their supply of oil replenished.  Thus, when the time came for them to draw on what they should have been laying aside “for a rainy day,” they had  nothing.  Now, please note that all 10 of the virgins became drowsy and fell asleep.  That wasn’t the problem.  The problem was that when the time of need came, only five of them were prepared.  That’s where I saw the link between this parable and the article by Ms. Estes.  As she wrote, “For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.”  Yes, we have!  And now, when perhaps many of us have almost been overcome by a spiritual weariness we can, instead, rise up and draw upon those spiritual resources which we have been laying up for all this time.  We have been made for these times, and now more than ever we are being called upon to be those prophetic lights in our world.  Our lights have an effect upon others.  Have you ever walked in a dark place where another person is carrying a flashlight?  You are benefiting from their light, right?  Even so, spiritually.  We have been given so much time to be prepared for these difficult times, and I believe with all my heart that we are going to come through them as better people and as brighter lights.  So, be encouraged!  “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works, and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Matt. 5:16)  We have been made for these times!

I continue to thank God for the blessing of YOU.  Stay in touch with important people in your lives.  Be sure you tell them often that you love them.  And, as somebody recently shared with me, “God asks only that you include yourself among those you love.”

May God continue to shower you with his abundant love and grace,

Fr. Jay