April 18, 2020 7:11 pm

“These are the times that try [people’s] souls . . . “
Thomas Paine’s quote above (altered for inclusive language) came to mind in thinking of our “plight” now and comparing it with what our ancestors faced in so many different contexts throughout history. The persecution of Christians down through the ages—tortured and killed for their faith, emigrating in order to practice their faith, dying with people of other faiths at the hands of other plagues that swept through other places; or potato famines or floods that took the lives of so many loved ones; or hiding from Gestapo-like thugs in order to, at best, live another day—our ancestors saw all this and more. They were able to celebrate Easter when their hearts were broken—able to find hope when the odds were really against them.
Which then makes me think that what I’m experiencing is an inconvenience by comparison. I hope and pray that it remains just that. I question whether or not I have the strength and resilience to endure what visited our ancestors who survived through so much–and who produced the me who grumbles about inconveniences. Thank you, Lord, for the ancestors, and for their example that quiets my grumbling.
Fr. Mike Steltenkamp, S.J.
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