From the desk of Fr Stephen Feb 28, 2021

From the desk of Fr Stephen

About 30 years ago, I was on retreat and something quite remarkable happened to me.  I was sitting in the chapel at the time and an overwhelming feeling of God’s goodness came upon me.  I was not doing anything really to deserve this feeling, but I would have, at that moment, been willing to give my life as a martyr to God if I had to.  This feeling lasted for about 10 minutes and then I was back to myself.  I have never felt this type of complete abandonment to God ever again, but I think about it from time to time maybe when I do not feel sure of my faith.  At that moment, all I could think was that if this is what Heaven is going to be like, I want it more than anything.

I am not sure if you have ever had an experience like that.  I’m sure some of you have, and like me, maybe it has carried you through the more difficult times of your life.  I use this example today because I am trying to put myself in the place of the three Apostles at the transfiguration.  Jesus selects Peter, James and John to go up on the mountain with Him.  I am not sure if He did this regularly, but they were also the three with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Here He becomes THE OTHER, so much so, the Apostles try to hide.  They are caught up in the experience of seeing The Lord in all His grandeur and glory.  They must have carried this experience with them for the rest of their lives.  How could they ever doubt again when they recall what they had seen?

Well, we know that our faith can become pretty fickle at times.  One day everything in our faith makes sense; the next day, nothing makes sense.  This past week in a video many of you saw, I used the example of Mother Teresa.  A person who remained constant in her faith even when things did not make sense to her.  She talked at length about how far she felt from God most days, and yet we honor her as a saint today because she hung in there and remained faithful.  Not all of us are going to have a profound God experience in our lives.  In fact, maybe the faith of those who do have these revelations are weaker than others, and God gives them some consolation of His presence, so they don’t lose faith altogether.  If you have not had a profound experience of God, maybe it is because your faith is already strong enough to endure this suffering.  Who knows how many saints in Heaven remained faithful to God in their lives, especially when they found it almost impossible?

Today is the last day of February.  During this past month, we remembered countless African Americans who remained faithful despite much persecution in their lives.  We hold them up as heroes for ourselves for persevering despite much tribulation.  Nothing, including slavery, can break the human spirit for those who reach out to a higher power.  May God bless those who have gone before us for giving us such a good example.