Thursday, August 25, 2016

For Grace and Courage to Stay Awake!

By Beth DeCristofaro

Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. (Matthew 24:42-44)

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Corinthians 1:4-9)

Last night the news coming from the earthquake that wrenched Italy kept me up again.  Other, recent wakeful nights have brought details of horrors facing families and heath care workers in Aleppo, Syria.  As a health care chaplain, I am all too well aware that Jesus’ words from the Gospel are still very true today even with modern medical miracles.  Our lives are preciously unique yet fragile in so many ways. 

Paul’s words are thrillingly hopeful and promising.  The radio broadcast “On Being” last week featured people reflecting on how being a runner enhanced their spiritual lives.  A Muslim woman told how she prayed as she ran, appreciating the beauty of the outdoors as gift from Allah.  At times, she said, she just had to run with hands in the air in tribute to Allah’s generosity.  Another runner, a Sikh man, felt that running gave him the chance to blend in and enjoy being one with other runners.  His experiences every day included meeting people who immediately judge and often fear him because of how he looked and assumptions of who he was.[i]  Neither of these people is Christian but their appreciation of the sanctity of life is compatible with Paul’s appreciation of our fellowship with Jesus.

Cursillstas can share words like Paul’s which will drown out words of disunity, hatred and fear heard too often in our towns and in our country.  To soon each one of us will have to face personal tragedy whether it be an earthquake, war, cancer, homelessness, accident or other.  Divisiveness and racism are human-made tragedies we can resolve.   Stay awake, Jesus says!  Stay awake not in grief or dread but awake, alert to God’s presence and our part in building his kingdom.  Stay awake, sure that you are kept firm in Him until the end.

On September 9, join Catholics around the country praying and acting for peace, unity, and racial justice.  In the words of a prayer of the faithful for the day: “For the grace to see every human being as a child of God, regardless of race, language or culture, let us pray to the Lord.  For the courage to have difficult conversations about racism, and for a better appreciation of how our words and actions – or even our silence – can impact our communities, let us pray to the Lord.” 

[i]Billy Mills, Christina Torres, Ashley Hicks, Et Al. — Running as Spiritual Practice,

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