Many of you know that I have had some bad luck lately. Some of it self-inflicted, some not. What this has caused me to do is strip out all the superfluous things in my life and focus on the important things.
One thing that has been a great comfort to me, in addition to my family, has been my Catholic faith.
Am I religious? I don’t know. That’s for others to determine. What I will say is that I could not have made it through these times without the lessons my Catholic faith taught me.
What are those things? There are really two things:
- Life is hard. And Life is unfair.
- Even though you are greatly flawed, you still have a path to salvation. There is always hope.
Consider the following people:
- Saint Peter, the first pope: He denies Jesus 3 times (!) and still gets to be the first pope.
- Saint Paul, the great evangelist: Actively persecutes Christians, until the Road to Damascus.
- Saint Augustine, the great teacher: “Grant me chastity and continence…but not just yet”
- Zaccheus, the Tax Collector(Luke 19): Jesus chooses the despised to preach his message.
These men are all deeply flawed, and yet are welcomed by Jesus in one way or another. It is this message that, when facing the toughest times in my life, give me hope. It is the notion that, in all my imperfections, there is still hope for me.
During Good Friday, we say a litany that prayers for other Christians, our brothers the Jews, those of faith who do not believe in Jesus, and who have no faith. The latter gives me the most pause. Without my culture, my faith, I am not sure I could have made it through January and February of this year. And since bad things do happen, how do people with no faith make it through hard times? I really can’t fathom this, unless they get help from other people. This is where James 2:26 comes in: Life is hard, and we have to help the people who need it. I must live a life of faith PLUS action.
This Easter, I am grateful for my family and friends, all of whom have helped me through a difficult time. I owe you more than you can know, and I’ll be happily working off that debt the rest of my life. Thank you.