| By Bishop Earl Boyea

Assist God in drawing the greatest good from these times

It has always been a part of my spiritual life that any difficulty which comes my way must be a part of God’s permissive will, that is, that it falls within his Divine Providence. This does not mean that he causes evil, but that he allows it for a greater good. In my prayer, that has always had me go to the Cross of Jesus. The Father certainly allowed this most horrible of all evils to his beloved Son because he knew he would draw great good from it: our salvation.

In that vein, I have been contemplating what goods God is desiring to draw from this coronavirus situation. The reason why this is a worthwhile exercise on my part is that it then calls me to cooperate with God’s will and assist in bringing about those goods.

Certainly, one blessing which has arisen from these times is the amazing creativity of our priests. There has been an abundant use of technology, which was quite minimal before. I have heard from many people, especially those who were shut-ins even before Covid, that this has brought the life of the parish into their homes in such blessed ways for them.

Another blessing has been the growing hunger for the Eucharist. First of all, these times have emphasized yet again the sheer importance of the Mass as the act of Jesus offering himself to the heavenly Father. Our priests have been faithfully continuing that work of Jesus over these many days. The entire Church, including all shut-ins at home, is enriched by this daily celebration of the Mass for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

However, the hunger for the Eucharist has also grown. Perhaps we had become too complacent in our regular weekly reception of our Lord’s body and blood. Perhaps we have not even given enough thought to our worthiness and readiness to receive him. Any habits can become mind-numbing. The Eucharist should never be that. But we are human. The blessing here, if we grasp it, is weekly to examine ourselves and our worthiness and readiness to take the Lord of Glory into our lives. And then the work of praise and thanks afterwards must become a regular part of our “routine” in order to avoid merely habitual behavior.

Another blessing of these times is the nature of the parish community, of our belonging to the body of Christ as physically made present in our diocese and parish. When we are isolated, we recognize that this is not how we are supposed to be. We are meant to be in communion. Again, we can all too often take this for granted. It should never be taken for granted. It is how Jesus called us, formed us, saved us, and now abides with us.

So, the question for all of us is: Will we all recognize the blessings from these times, will we embrace them, and will we seek to assist God in drawing the greatest good from what has been a difficult period in our mutual history? God seeks that. Do we?