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The world anew

First slide

We are weary. We are discouraged. We are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, almost certain that, in the context of 2020, when we see it, it will be an oncoming train. Hope wanes. And when hope wanes, faith falters and love struggles against indifference. Did I mention yet that we are on the brink of election season? We’re in a world of hurt, and we need to shore ourselves up for the storm set to crash upon an already battered, badly eroded beach.


In the spring, when we were all at home and desperate for information that might shed light on what the near future held, when we all felt isolated from one another, we fell into a habit of being tethered to a screen to better understand and participate in society. There was no choice but to log on to Zoom if you wanted to be a part of a meeting. One click led to another, and people of all ages were spending most of their waking hours isolated in front of personal screens in the name of connecting with one another.


The purveyors of information inside those magnificent digital machines held us captive. Despite comfortable, established relationships with local merchants, we purchased from big online retailers. With barriers of fear and 10 layers of protection between us and our personal physicians — and even though we clearly heard and saw the bias — we returned again and again to mainstream media for pertinent health education. In the absence of coffee dates, living room book clubs and Sunday morning donuts after Mass, we sought community in social media.


Now, we are exhausted. In this season, we have slurped the marrow out of sources that reciprocate by sucking us dry, and then we wonder why we feel so dehydrated. Something has to change. It is crucial that we sit up straight and look forward instead of down. It’s time to act as if we understand the source and summit of our sustenance and we recognize the image of God in one another before we all shrivel up and die with our phones in our hands. Autumn looms ahead, perilously menacing. What holy habits will hold us in good stead?


What informs our consciences and nourishes our brains? What breathes life into our souls? If we spend more time imbibing news media than we do drinking deeply of the Word of God can we expect to be refreshed? If we do not engage all our senses and move our limbs and our lungs can we wonder at the numbness and lethargy? If we cannot extend ourselves to make connections over the backyard fence or across the expanse of a park bench can we question why we feel so alone?


Wake up!


You have one precious life to live and you have to live it in this surreal and distorted year. It is time to see the restrictions on our lives as opportunities to think creatively about what was once ordinary. Go to church, for goodness sakes. If you cannot go to Mass, go in the quiet emptiness of the middle of the afternoon. If you cannot go inside, stand at the door and call to him. Spend time with Jesus. Ask him where to go next. Then, wherever you go, go standing up straight, with your shoulders back and your head high. It is time to shake the stupor of solitary navel-gazing and see where the Lord is leading us out there. It is a time to go for a walk, eyes wide open and your face turned toward the sun. I dearly hope that you are so energized by seeing the beauty of the world anew that you break into a run.


Foss, whose website is takeupandread.org, writes from Connecticut.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020