Reflection: 65 and the virus

Death

Suddenly, there is an awakening in this country. This awakening is the reality of death, death caused by a virus. This awakening comes especially to a group of people, someone at sometime, categorized as the Baby Boomers. I am a baby boomer. We are a generation that had ideals, had our Bernie Sanders (George McGovern), our social prophets (of all races and genders unlimited), and the Beatles for heaven sake. How can we be the most vulnerable generation of people facing this potential fate.

However, as Ash Wednesday reminded us, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19 NRS). We cannot get out of the “dust you shall return part.” The Coronavirus is doing its part to bring many people to face this truth. Pray for all who seek to help fight this disease and for all who have been affected.

I am fortunate to have a soul mate along side me through this process. We are both doing our best to self-quarantine for our safety. We both understand why we must do this and still be a lifeline to others we care about. This is a time in which our social mandates fit hand in hand with our contemplative pathway. We have seen God present us with some interesting encounters (socially distance acceptable of course!)

There is also a spiritual challenge, Some would say a mental health challenge. It is not either/or but both/and.  I fear the spiritual more than the mental. Death now surrounds us. Death gives no respect to status or position. Death comes from an attack by a virus upon our very breath. It has proven it can kill, the youngest as well as the oldest. The challenge is for us to have our own spiritual foundation assured through faith and our responsibility to be open and willing to guide others to develop a confidence in their foundation through the guidance God has given to each of us. It has been a long time since comfortable Christians have been made uncomfortable. We really need each others prayers, support, and the giving of meager attempts at love. Relationships, from the top down must grow closer and more accepting of each other while holding on to our precious relationship with God. Only God’s 

We will also have the opportunity to examine our lives in the light (or lack of light) by using spiritual disciplines as our tools. If you have done much reflection upon the Eucharist and its relation to apostolic succession you may look at an option to revert back to the earliest of liturgical practices carried out in house churches.  The “clergy” (individuals called by God who  by as the successors to the role of apostle) presided over the Eucharist. I would recommend both deep soul searching, serious theological reflection and deep spiritual examination before you make any decision.

I have found the Daily Office to be the most uplifting, convicting, and presence confirming tool for my life. I am most comforted by the Anglican heritage I have adopted. I am also comforted by commitment of the Methodist church I am attending to reach out to it members and to find ways to connect us. In this church I find spiritual food.  Seek a church! Don’t just ask God, go and visit. While you are there you can begin the process of discernment. Being part of a church is a serious matter.

This is my last recommendation. Now is a time to seek to go deeper. Find a spiritual director who can not only help you with Ignatius’s 14 rules. Be careful however for there are a lot of people offering new age philosophy in place of the spiritual practices of the Christian mystics that where orthodox and effective. Find a director who is willing to listen to God with you and for you knowing you must ultimately discern.

In closing, in over 67 verses throughout the Bible there is the phrase, “Do not be afraid!” This is what I deeply feel all who believe need to hear now. Be smart, be alert, be protective, stay informed, but above all else, seek God’s presence, and “Do not be afraid!”

This is the time to not be afraid.

Oh, please, please wash your hands often.  While washing, say The Our Father. The Our Father (Lord’s Prayer) is long enough that you will have washed well. Also, and very important,  you will pray more often.-Got that from Juanell.

Never Forget the Fall (not the season but the reason) and the Power it Has Over Us

Fall

“God’s delays are mysterious; sorrow is sometimes prolonged for the same reason for which it is sent. God may abstain for the moment from healing, not because Love does not love, but because Love never stops loving, and a greater good is to come from the woe. Heaven’s clock is different from ours.”
— Fulton J. Sheen, p. 357   Life of Christ

It is truth worth repeating, “The only good in this world comes from God’s grace. With God’s grace there would be no good in this world that is cursed.”

What does it mean to say that the world is cursed? It means God has decided to allow negative consequences and struggle in this time line and reality. We currently do not live in the totality of the Kingdom of God but in the reign of death, the history of death, the limitations of human understanding due to death. To forget this reality is to set oneself up for apatheia at the least and idolatry at the worst.

Time and time again in my own spiritual pursuits, I have, like so many others allowed the effects of the Fall to influence my life. Even when I have been consistant in my spiritual disciples and worship I have made the mistake of not being on my guard for the deceptions and delusions that are a constant presence. If not for God’s grace and likely angelic intervention, I have no doubt I would have been overcome by the dispair and destructive nature in these lapses.

However, God does intervene and does seek to bring us back to the narrow path, the road less travelled due to God’s love for us. The question then arises, “If God loves us so much why does God allow the Fall to continue or why does God not awaken us before we give in to the Fall’s effects?”

I cannot answer the first question, but I beleive the second (and likely the first) is answered in the above quote. The only answer to the effects of the Fall are found in a faith that trusts in the mystery of faith and the revelation of the incarnation. God counters the power of the Fall in the hope of what is to come and in the grace of experiencing the reality of God’s love in Jesus in the events of our lives.

God gives us a promise, “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6 NRS) And also, “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20-1:1 NRS)

We do not travel in the history of death alone. The Fall should not define us, our trust and our faith in the creator of this world should. This is what is offered in God’s love.