May 3, 2020 – Father’s Ramblings

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The Lord is Risen! He is truly Risen!

April 28th, 2020

…but we are still on lockdown. This past Friday the governor extended the state lockdown order through May 15th. Following this Bishop Walkowiak extended the suspension of public Masses and gatherings through Sunday, May 17th. We continue to wait.

Waiting has important spiritual significance. The whole Season of Advent is centered around waiting. The ancient Israelites waited centuries for the Messiah. The Blessed Virgin waited for the birth of her Son. Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, is a day of waiting. The earth waits in a profound silence as the Creator rests in the Tomb. For the first novena the Apostles waited in the Upper Room from the Ascension to Pentecost. They waited for the Lord to fulfill His promise.

The question is, what are we waiting for? On the spiritual side, waiting is supposed to build our faith and hope in the Lord. We fix our attention on the Lord, we faithfully follow Him, and we wait upon His salvation. We are not the masters of our lives. By waiting we allow the Lord to be our Lord. Waiting also gives us a chance to master our fear and to think through problems. When the information keeps changing, when the news cycle keeps churning out story after story, we need the chance to stop and think.

I have said before that fear is a tool of the evil one. One of the reasons he uses this tool is because fear inhibits our ability to reason, our God-given ability to reason. Our brains respond to fear in different ways; chemicals course through our bodies; brain patterns change. We need time to truly master those realities and to ponder what is right and true. By waiting we are resisting the machinations of the devil and giving God’s great gift the chance to reassert itself.

This season of waiting is also important because what we must think about is quite serious and not at all pleasant. In fact, we might find that we are put off by the questions that we must consider during this time. What is the problem we are being faced with? We are being asked to weigh the value of life. In blunt terms, how many people are we willing to let die so that other people’s lives are not ruined?

We may not like thinking in such blunt terms, but it is a consideration we make all the time. Over 32,000 people die a year in car accidents, and over 2 million are injured. For this country alone, over 1.3 million people have died in various wars, conflicts, and police actions. Another 1.5 million were injured. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we have made various calculations regarding whether what is gained is worth the loss of life.

We could have changed these numbers. Alcohol, the leading cause of car accident deaths, could be banned. In fact, we tried it once with Prohibition. In the history of our country, the war with the most deaths was the Civil War with over 650,000 deaths. We could have prevented those deaths by allowing the southern states to secede and to continue enslaving people. No one today, though, really argues for the return of Prohibition, and certainly no one argues against the abolition of slavery. We accept the cost of those lives, and the many lives affected by injury, grief, mental illness, poverty, and the other unseen factors.

The cost in lives is met by other costs. The Fathers of our nation fought a war so that we could be free. What is the price of our civil liberties? Would we rather be alive and oppressed or dead and free? What will be the cost to people’s wellbeing if businesses collapse, addiction increases, and generational poverty afflicts untold numbers? There are costs to human lives and human wellbeing no matter which way we turn.

As I said, this not pleasant to think about, and neither I nor anyone else has a good answer to the problem. If someone claims they have an easy solution, they are probably trying to sell you something. If there is one important good about our time of waiting, it is so that we can address this serious issue calmly and rationally.

Not only will this help us make better choices, but it will also help us in relationships with others. If everyone takes the time to truly consider this issue, even if we end up on different sides of the issue, we can at least respect the other person. There is so much recrimination going on because many people are having kneejerk reactions. Whether their gut instincts and reactions are correct or not, it is easy to dismiss them because they don’t seem to have weighed the costs.

Let’s not be those people.

If we use this time wisely, we can come out better, stronger, and holier than when we began. Believe me, I am itching for things to open up, but it is currently out of my control. Let’s use this time of waiting as our ancestors did so that when the doors are opened, we can enter the world renewed by the wisdom and grace of God. Remember, waiting is not a passive exercise. While we wait we pray, we think, and we plan. We consider how we will step back into the world, and how we can do so in the confidence that the Lord has brought us to that point.

May the Lord bless you with the joy of the Resurrection today and always!

–Fr. Ferris

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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