Autumn Stress

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

It seems like this autumn has been intense and stressful for many of the people with whom I have been speaking. Maybe this time of year is always like that – not  certain. Yet I am sure I see and sense the anger, angst and maybe fear of many. Some who work in financial services speak about the uncertainty of the markets. Families share the pressures of children’s schedules, the amount of homework, and range of commitments everyone in the house seems to have. Finding balance seems
harder.
Young adults with whom I speak do not know what a 40-50 hour workweek looks like; it is more like 50-70. And am I imagining it or is the terrible traffic making everyone more edgy and exasperated, consequently causing drivers to be less patient and more careless?  I have not been in a conversation in these past weeks that has not referenced the wrenching case of the confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh. All of social media and print media, as well as radio and television have focused on the issues until America seems exhausted and drained.

Last week, I met with most of the priest pastors in the city, and we spoke about our respective parishes and faith communities. Obviously, this moment in the Church is yet another exposed nerve in this October time. This past weekend I was in Chicago at a reunion retreat for alumni volunteers of Rostro de Cristo. Fifty young men and women who have served for one year in Guayaquil, Ecuador came together to pray and reflect on their experience and their way of life as a consequence of their year of service. For me, these meetings and gatherings are always very powerful and enriching.

Today these individuals, having lived in an intentional Christian Community in one of the most impoverished regions of South America, continue to live their faith and are agents of light and hope in these times. They are examples for me and perhaps for you too, of how one can grow through challenging life experiences by embracing
more completely one’s faith in Jesus Christ.

For my brother priests and ministers in the city and beyond, for the young veterans of Rostro de Cristo, and for all of us in our parishes and communities in Charlestown, these stressful days can bring us clarity about what truly matters. For there is a platform on which I stand, as do many others, which is uncontaminated
by the stresses and worries of these days, yet at the same time, inspires how we live in the midst of all of it. The platform is our faith. God is bigger than anyone can ever imagine; more merciful; more compassionate; more loving; more accepting and resourceful.
Take a deep breath; enjoy the beauty of autumn in New England, and be assured, deep down, God is Good.

Fr. Ronan