Has the world gone mad or is it me?
This week October arrived, it was expected, announcing its arrival with an advert campaign behind it to “Stoptober” If you want to give up smoking, it is a good month for you. If you don’t smoke, it, depending on your life outlook, is just another month on the treadmill of life, or another month to engage in, while on the gifted journey and miracle that is life! So it is here and it presents opportunities for reflection.
October is a month in the middle of autumn, a changing month for the seasons, where the late summer sun gives way to the more blustery, and cooler weather. Change and decay in all around I see…this can be October, threatening the calm with an inevitable feeling of the passing of time, and the inability to make a difference with the time given. The year is almost over and what have I done? This can be a mantra of regret that starts forming in the conscience during October. I like October because it is a month dedicated in the Church calendar to a devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Any regrets, worries or troubles can be laid at the feet of Mary during this month, and she will bring them to the ear of her Son, Jesus. Devotion to Mary is an awakening of trust, and expression of hope, a deepening of realising that my life is in the hands of God, here I am kept safely in the palms of his hands and though I live with weaknesses, many faults and failings too, I am loved and held securely.
There is an important event happening in the Vatican at this time, the “Synod of the Family” It causes a tremble of fear to ripple though my being. As a priest I am engaged in accompanying people on their journey of faith. I come across many broken dreams, broken and wounded lives, expectations unfulfilled, potential unrealised. Life can be raw, can be cruel, can be unfathomable. There are situations in life filled with painful regret. Life can be bleak! But life can be joyful, fulfilling, rewarding, and efforts put in can bear fruit. We make the best of the life we have been given. The Church seeks to follow the will of Christ, and that is never easy. Love does not come without sacrifice, hope is often preceded by doubt and uncertainty. For many the definition of life is; birth, life and death, but the Church sees it as life, death, and resurrection. Life is not cramming in every experience before you die and then feeding the worms, so to speak! Christianity colours the way life is embraced.
There seems to be a different ends of the spectrum trying to influence to their way of thinking the outcome of the synod. Those who have expectations for wholesale changes are unrealistic. The Church seeks ways to accompany people, but not on a high speed train, rather a steam train, gently rattling beside the journey taken. The Church does not flatter the prevailing whim of the times, or bow down to the spirit of the day, she preserves and safeguards the values that Christ instituted, and that is how it should be. I do not have a right, to do what I want all of the time, and just because I can, does not mean that I should! The Church is not here to cause pain, it may seem that way to many, but the healing balm of Christ is the essence and heart of the Church.
I sometimes wonder has the world gone mad or is it me! As I answer that each day, I entrust October to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.