All the bad news cannot hamper the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Are your eyes open to see?
Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles wrote this week, “There is a spiritual awakening going on in America, underneath all the controversy of our politics, the continued clouds of the pandemic, all the uncertainty about where our country is heading.”
The archbishop’s words struck a chord with me. I have to say, I agree with him.
The words of the Book of Wisdom come to mind: “Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself” (Wis 3:5-6). Not to be Pollyannaish, but it’s been proven that time and time again, trial and suffering leads to renewal. Like gold in the furnace.
With that in mind, I’d like to expand a bit on the archbishop’s instinct, offering some evidence of what I’ve seen.
This past week, the Church has witnessed marvelous conversions. These happen quietly, often without being widely celebrated or discussed. One woman was received into the Church just yesterday here in my religious community’s chapel in Washington, D.C. Other conversions are more widely discussed, to give us hope! In England, the Church witnessed the priestly ordination of Michael Nazir-Ali, a former Anglican bishop once considered a candidate for Canterbury! Nazir-Ali entered into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church on September 29.
I’ve also seen a groundswell for the pro-life movement. With important legal battles just around the corner, America’s increasingly public and ever-growing pro-life movement is bringing attention to the fundamental right of every human person: the right to life.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been filled with pictures of children dressed up as saints! The sight of so many families learning about, depicting, and sharing the stories of holiness and heroism of the saints is fantastic. I wish social media would always be filled with so many pictures of the saints!
Speaking of saints, we have some marvelous new saints capturing public attention. If you missed the beatification of Blessed Sandra Sabbatini, you’ve got to take a dive into her story. Her life (she died in 1984 in a car accident) is an incredible story of a Christian living out the Gospel in the modern world. Another great saint, the American priest Fr. Michael McGivney was beatified just one year ago today! And we recently celebrated the feast day of Blessed Carlo Acutis, our first great millennial saint! Check out this interview with his mother, which took place with Aleteia just a few days ago.
As the Christmas holidays draw near, a time known for generosity and charitable giving, there’s reason to believe we’ll see continued kindness and expressions of support for the most vulnerable among us. Last year, charitable giving in the US increased 3.8% (when adjusted for inflation), reaching a record $471.44 billion.
Political unrest, economic instability, even ordeals suffered in the Church cannot hamper the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Archbishop Gomez says, “The bargain of our secular society and consumer economy has always been empty and false. It could never satisfy our deepest longings or answer the questions that we all hold in our hearts: Who am I? What kind of person should I be? What should I be living for, and why? What happens when I die?”
When these questions are asked, let us be armed and ready, with stories of the good things we’ve seen. There is, and will always be, evidence of our Lord’s work around us. This All Saints Day, let us pray to the host of heaven, that our eyes may be opened to see ever more clearly.