Dear Parish family,
Let’s be honest, unless you’re a newlywed, it’s hard to get excited about February. The cold temperatures, icy roads and overcast skies start to wear on us and we can experience the doldrums. Having said that, I must admit, however, that I love being a New Englander. After living in several parts of the United States, I have found that the distinct four seasons makes us somehow unique. Case in point; we don’t expect every day to be sunny – in fact we typically go through long stretches where the sun seems only a distant memory. We’re used to having to travel winter roads that are difficult and, at times, treacherous. And there are times in the year where we can feel isolated and cloistered by our weather. But the difficult weather times simply teach us to appreciate and rejoice when the beautiful times appear. The first hints of spring that float in on an April breeze, the sugar maple that bursts into brilliant hues of orange and yellow, and the smell of freshly cultivated earth just waiting to be planted are all moments that we neither waste nor take for granted. These are blessed moments and we give thanks for the opportunity to live them.
We can draw a parallel between our New England experience and the experience of faith. Our relationship with God will naturally know times that are very moving and fulfilling. There will be times when it is very easy to pray, to concentrate, and to listen to Him. Those moments are to be cherished just like the first signs of spring. We, however, also have to realize that every day of our journey is not going to be, “sunny with no chance of rain”. It is very natural to have dry spells in faith where we feel we’re not very connected and that it is difficult to keep our minds on prayer. We will have challenging times that will force us to travel roads that can be very difficult. It’s all part of being a Christian. The key to rising above those challenges is perseverance and trust. Just as we are able to hold on through the howling winds and bone chilling temperatures of February, we need to do the same with our faith life. God’s love is constant and never leaves us. We need to do our best to model his fidelity. Keep praying even when it’s difficult, get to Mass every week even when our beds don’t want to give us up, believe that He is with us even when we feel empty, and finally, believe in our heart of hearts that we are truly loved. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20)
It’s great to be a New England Christian; we know how to persevere through the tough times and how to appreciate and rejoice in the moments of Grace. Hang in there everyone – I think I smell spring coming!