Volcanic eruption on White Island kills at least 14.
Chopper crash near St. Cloud kills three National Guardsmen.
A shooting at a Pensacola Navy base has left three people dead.”
Shooting in Jersey City leaves 6 dead, including police officer and three civilians.
A Chilean Air Force plane with 38 people aboard went missing Monday night on its way to Antarctica and is presumed to have crashed.
Beloved Bishop Sirba, Duluth, Mn died on his way to celebrate Sunday Mass.
Bishop Sample, Portland, Oregon reminds us all that, “As we await the Lord’s coming, these incidents are powerful reminders that we know not the day or hour of His coming.” Will it happen to one of us while walking to church? While vacationing? While shopping? While attending school? While driving to work?
Human life is fragile and so do we strive to live without regret or do we choose to live with near-constant regret? Advent positions us well to ponder the tragic situations and ask ourselves: “are we ready to meet Jesus face to face?” And only with the purpose of analyzing what is the real purpose and meaning of our lives.
Those who experience intense physical suffering and pain and surgeries need not be reminded to ponder the meaning of their lives. That seems to be the silver lining of their suffering. Meanwhile, the rest of us can benefit from taking in these daily events that happen around us and consider the meaning of our own lives - past, present and future. And that is a good thing. These events need not devastate us but resolve to turn to the Lord in a deeper, more intense way. But they also have the possibility of causing us to retreat into ourselves and not even consider the depth of our faith, hope or love?
The Biblical Book of The Psalms help us to consider life’s challenges and rewards in very personal, human ways. Consider that each Psalm was written by someone crying out to the Lord - in joy, pain, devastation, or sorrow. He wants to hear from us on these levels. Just like these authors, we will also experience their emotions as we go through life. Take time to read them now and in the coming year. Psalm 119 [1- 8; 26 - 35] is one example of getting in touch with God on a very personal level and matter. Try praying the Psalm as if you are the one seeking the Lord with all of your heart.
“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.”
Consider studying the Book of Psalms in 2020. It could be your New Year’s Resolution! After all, you and I will surely experience human circumstances which will elicit strong emotional responses on our part including disappointment, sadness, joy, fear, peace, and other strong feelings during 2020. Grow accustomed to praying the Psalms as they were meant to be used: “to prepare our hearts for a living conversation with God.” [Cavins et al]
Merry Christmas! May you all have a Blessed New Year filled with joyfulness and peace.