So the year 2016 is past, the year 2017 has begun. The world, our country has been afflicted by violence whether by state sponsored or terrorist sponsored attacks. Many times the violence has been random. The call of “Peace on Earth; Goodwill to all!” seems to ring hollow during this holiday season.
Our country has been through the most raucous presidential election season, since the early days of the Republic! And it has revealed that there are deep divisions in our nation. The concept of civil discourse and debate seems to have flown out of the window. And we have elected a person as President that many do not respect; that others are a little concerned about his style of governance; and what it portends for the next four years
While engaged in Morning Prayer, I came across this verse from Psalm 42 “Why are you downcast my soul; why do you groan within me? Wait for God, whom I shall praise again, my savior and my God.” This will be verse I think will become my new mantra for this coming year.
On New Year’s Eve, I joined my wife at a worshipping community she goes to; and participated in a Burning Bowl ceremony. We were invited to write down on a slip of flash paper, something negative we wanted God’s help in taking away from us. We then placed the slips in a bowl that had a small fire; which consumed the petitions. It was very moving.
The year of 2016 has been a year of some changes for me personally. I finally found employment at a South Shore company; starting in January, 2016. So I will be entering my second year of employment, and it has been good. The commute is long, two hours to and back; using commuter train and subway. I am always telling people that at least someone else is doing the driving.
In September of this year, I will be entering my fifth year as an ordained Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. I cannot believe that much time has passed. I have been assigned to three Beverly, MA, parishes; where most of my work has been liturgical, assisting at 5 of Masses celebrated in two of three parishes. It seems a lot; but I have experienced spiritual aid, that helps me perform my sacred duties well. The Deacon has several ways of service he offers to the Church; a service of Worship, service of the Word, and a service of Charity. I am still reflecting and discerning what that means in my daily life. What role should daily prayer, daily reading, and meditating of Scripture should have. I am not where I think I should be. Maybe, this New Year, I will find some guidance; and perhaps some improvement.
A New Year begins, a year of fear, a year of anxiety, but also a year of hope, a year of change, and a year of trust in the Lord.
Over a late night cup of coffee, I would share with you my sadness with the amount of violence that is in the news lately. The shootings of two black men by police, under circumstances, that on the surface, appear to require further investigation. We have the killing of five police officers in Dallas, TX. Then the terror attack on French citizens in the city of Nice, resulting in 84 deaths, and 202 persons injured. And now we have the killing of 3 officers in Baton Rouge, LA. Add these incidents to the others that have occurred this year, both in our nation and in the wider world; and one gets the feeling that darkness is increasing in our world. And it will, if we allow it; the Christophers, a Christian inspirational group, quotes a proverb: “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” We are called to bring some love, some hope, and some light into our families and our communities. Be open to the Holy Spirit, let it inspire you, and be open to any opportunity to do some good that may come our way.
Over a cup of coffee, I had planned on sharing a report on Catholic deacons that I saw on PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly program, but then I read a post written by Deacon Bill Ditewig, in which he pointed out the errors of the report, and made corrections. Then he issued a challenge to all of us deacons; to be true instruments of peace in this world that is in so much turmoil.
Well, here’s hoping the caffeine does not keep me awake. See you again over a cup of coffee.
Whether you accept their lifestyle or not; these were human beings, created by God. And Jesus wept.
There are politicians who cry out for banning Muslims from our shores. The majority here are hard-working, and law-abiding. Those who wish come here; are seeking refuge from violence.
They wish only to exercise the rights that are the foundation of this country; “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But some of us want to turn them into objects of fear. They are human beings, created by God. And Jesus weeps.