It’s New Year’s Day. I usually celebrate it by going on a hike and then watching some football on TV, and this year is no exception. Fifty-degree weather in northern New England on the first of the year? Yes, please. But Mass came first.
As a Catholic, I celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God today. It’s also the World Day of Peace. That’s a lot of freight for one date to carry.
St. Josemaria Escriva is up to the task.
We have to fight – a fight of peace – against evil, against injustice, against sin. Thus do we serve notice that the present condition of man is not definitive.
St. Josemaria Escriva, collected in Christ is Passing By: Homilies, escrivaworks.org
There’s a challenge, a reminder, and reassurance all at once.
Every year on the August 14 feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, one or another social media acquaintance posts these words attributed to him: “The most deadly poison of our time is indifference.”
My conscience stings every time I read that. Am I indifferent? Am I not doing enough stuff? Maybe, but there’s more to the saint’s statement. This is the part that doesn’t make it onto the memes.
“…And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.”
He wasn’t talking about indifference to the news or politics. I wish he had been; that’s easier for me to remedy. If that were the case I could just keep doing what I do, only more of it.
But instead there’s this: the praise of God should know no limits.
I’m busy. I do stuff. I have a family. There’s a pandemic going on. I have bills to pay and work goals to meet. I make my Morning Offering and then move on from there. Some days that’s the only spiritual box I check, but at least I check it.
Box-checking looks feeble – downright indifferent – in the face of praise that “should know no limits.”
All Souls’ Day: the one I don’t have to go to Church for, as opposed to All Saints’ Day. I’ve never quite shaken that childhood view. I take more note of the day than I did as a child; that comes with time and age and enduring the deaths of friends and loved ones.
I find myself saying brief silent prayers when I pass a cemetery. There’s no superstition or fear involved. It’s commending souls to God – I once thought that an odd phrase, but no longer. I even do it when the burial ground reveals no names.