“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away...a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace…” - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4, 6-8
As I reflect on the past few weeks, these verses from Ecclesiastes have stuck with me. I have often found myself teetering between moments of pure hope and joy and moments of pain and sadness. We have all entered into a “new normal,” learning how to love and to sacrifice for those around us in the midst of social isolation and pandemic fear. It can feel challenging and difficult to weather this season of life and to remain hopeful in the process.
However, in the past few weeks, I have also realized that I am in control of my attitude and my focus. It is not to say that we should ignore the pain and suffering around us. We should allow ourselves to weep, to mourn, and to be silent. But we can also choose to seek out those moments of laughter, of light, and of love. We can still live out our faith through a livestream Mass or a virtual Examen. We can still enjoy a good conversation with a friend or family member over Zoom. We can still soak in the warmth of a beautiful sunset during an evening walk. We can celebrate the heroic work of medical professionals and first responders. We can still take care of one another in our ACE and school communities.
Think for a moment about the symmetry of spiritual practices: fasting and feasting, action and contemplation, solitude and community. In many ways, Jesus models that there is a time and a place for each practice. He spent time alone contemplating and praying and being tested in the desert, but also feasted with his friends at the wedding at Cana. Jesus endures the Cross, but His Resurrection brings new life and love. It seems that a full life requires this balance, and that Christ is with us in all of it. Easter encourages us to pay attention to the bounty of God’s goodness. The joy of the Resurrection can help to invigorate our hope and to carry us through the moments of desolation. In this season, there is a time for everything.
Loving God, we ask that you bring comfort and strength to the vulnerable members of our community. Please help us to seek moments of hope, and be with us in moments of desolation. Encourage us to be messengers of Easter joy. Amen.