Written by Fr. Dale Minor - The Reclaim Ministry
Okay, I admit it, I am a bit discombobulated. I had plans for this morning. This is the day I meet with a small group of men for breakfast. We don’t do much; we are old men, and we mostly eat and tell stories about the way things used to be, while embellishing them a bit to make our adventures seem more exciting than they were. But, this is our ritual it is what we do. Then, the governor of our state has the nerve to order a shutdown of all restaurants. What a terrible disaster, a wrong, an affront, … okay it is an inconvenience at best.
For a few weeks now, I have been watching things unfold in our country as the news about the COVID-19 virus spread, and I perceived that the news media and politicians were using fear tactics to sway public opinion one way or another and it angered me. I kept remembering the warning from President Franklin Roosevelt at the start of World War II, -- “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -- and believed that we were seeing a real demonstration of that truth. And I still believe it to be a fair warning for this time.
But as I have also watched and experienced the words and actions of the citizens of our country, even those in my immediate surroundings, I am dismayed by the level of intolerance we have for one another, and our totally out of balance reaction to what has really, for most of us, been nothing more than an inconvenience. So we have to stay home a bit more. How many of us have hoped and prayed for a day off, a day which was not full of planned events? So, we have to skip a couple events we would have liked to have attended; so we have to endure a little slower pace. How many of us have begged for “just a little peace and quiet?”
Now, I know I am preaching to the choir here, as I am having just as much difficulty, and at my point in life, the truth is that I really have very little I absolutely have to do. I have all the food and supplies I am going to need for a while. I have heat and water and all these electronic gadgets that allow me much more access to the world than I either need or want. Yet I am fighting the dis-ease of being inconvenienced, of not being able to do what I want, when I want to do it. You see, it is really about pride. It is about the pride of thinking we are in control, that we able to direct our every situation in every moment.
But look around at the panic that is going on. Just visit a store, any kind of store, and see the results. People are panicking over a bare shelf in a store. AND NO ONE CAN CLAIM TO BE IN CONTROL WHEN THEY ARE IN A STATE OF PANIC.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-8)
Most likely you are familiar with this scripture. It may be among your favorites. It is just one of many which calls us not to worry about the matters of the world, but to put our trust in God. If nothing else, once we engage in an exercise of prayer and supplication to the Lord, we will find it very difficult to remain upset by the these mostly very minor
interruptions to our routines, and perhaps even find in them an opportunity to do some of those little things that we always said we were going to do someday. Maybe today, is your “someday?” Give thanks for the opportunity this is presenting you.
Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. “ (Mt. 11:28)