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Feeling downright biblical

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I recall sitting in religion class in my Catholic elementary school hearing lovely Bible stories about the beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, and the heroes of the Old and New Testaments. I remember the big events, the ones about which movies are made: Noah and the epic flood; earthquakes; flaming bushes; pestilence and plague; and locusts.

At that age, these biblical events seemed, well, pretty unlikely.

Scanning the headlines of the past couple years — wildfires sweeping Australia; earthquakes around the globe; devastating floods and mudslides; erupting volcanoes on small island nations; a lengthy, deadly, global pandemic; and now the coming of the cicadas — I can’t help but wonder what this all means. All these biblical events seem to be hitting at the same time. I don’t recall that happening in the Bible.

So, what do we do with this?

Get your house in order.

Sure, we all contemplate the fragility of our existence. This might be a healthy reminder to buoy our prayer life, embrace the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, make a plan for being a better person.

With our mostly virtual existence this past year, there are so many more resources online to help with that. Check out the Know Your Faith section of this issue or skim through our website — catholicherald.com. Look for commentary and podcasts from Bishop Michael Burbidge. See what parishes are doing to focus on the faith life.

Make a difference.

Are we numb to these biblical events? How do we or should we respond? Do we read the latest newspaper column, send a donation, or stop and say a prayer? We might be grateful we are not affected, even blessed, but does it prompt us to any action, or have we reached the saturation point with all the sadness we see?

The Catholic Herald has and continues to highlight ways people can help through financial support, volunteering or spreading the word about local initiatives. Check out diocesan Catholic Charities (ccda.net), inquire at your parish and poke around our website for more connections.

What’s important.

The pandemic has merged work, school and home life into a game of beat the clock. Telework and quarantine have been both blessing and challenge. The one thing we can hope is that this will refocus our efforts to identify what’s most important.

The daily or weekly church time and access to the sacraments that we pretty much took for granted, now seem a gift we might never think of the same way again.

Distancing from family members outside our pod has felt cruel and disheartening.

Sitting at a ball game elbow to elbow with friends on a hot summer day must be more than a memory. Hopefully, it’s a sticky opportunity awaiting us, if not this summer, then next.

When things turn biblical, remember the lessons the Bible and our Catholic faith have taught us.

We needn’t look far for sustenance through prayer; for community through service; and for prioritizing through life’s sometimes hard lessons.

Augherton, managing editor of the Catholic Herald, can be reached at aaugherton@catholicherald.com or follow on Twitter @aughertonACH.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021