Friday, November 26, 2010

Reading the Signs of the Times

Financial experts are always looking at data to try and determine our financial health and see where we are heading as a nation. As we come to the end of a liturgical year, it might be a good idea to take a look at the data regarding our spiritual health and see how we are doing, both as individuals and as a community of faith.
Take a walk in the mall and listen to the language that is so much a part of public conversations today. It does not exactly reflect a faith dimension to people's lives. The recent campaigns and elections showed more division than ever politically. A lot of people seem to act as if the only time something is wrong is if you get caught. It would be easy to become very depressed very quickly when reading the newspaper or online news blogs, especially the comments!
However, there is another, more rosy side to consider. One thing that has really impressed me during the past few years is the amazing response to those in need. Certainly there are more people than ever who find themselves needing assistance in this difficult economy. While you might think that this would lead people to be less generous, I do not see it in practice. Even though more people are going to food pantries, people in our parish have brought more food than ever to help restock the shelves. A recent drive to provide coats during the cold weather resulted in a mound of coats to help people keep warm this winter. These point to a sense of empathy with those in need, perhaps because more and more realize that it could so easily be they themselves who are on the receiving end of such assistance.
Quite a mixed bag, isn't it. So, what can we conclude about our spiritual health? I think the main message is that we are at our best when we see ourselves connected to others. We are not made to live solitary lives, and when we think only of ourselves we become less who we should be. It really goes back to the "Golden Rule", and we are still a people who are inconsistent in living it. So I guess you can say that, while we are in a spiritual recession, it is not a depression and shows some signs of recovery.
Well, that is my take on us as a society. Now I have to take a look at my own life and see how I am doing as an individual. I hope you will take this opportunity to do the same. Maybe, if enough of us do this, we can together become who we are meant to be - members of the Body of Christ united in His love.

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