We have been experiencing difficult, challenging times as Catholics. Some of it has been caused from within — from the wounds of sin committed by members of the church or from our own weakness.
Some has been from without, from cultural misunderstandings and sometimes hostilities and rejection.
Some is just the natural suffering we all endure in the normal course of life.
Whatever the source, the day-to-day drip of it has been a long road at times.
And then came September.
First we had the experience of coming together as a local church for a Eucharistic Procession and Mass.
Then, a couple of weeks later, our nation had the great blessing of a papal visit.
First we walked with the Lord himself through the streets of our city. Then his vicar came to visit three American cities.
What was common to both was a winsome spirit of joy that touched people both inside the church and outside. Many had an experience of peace and unity and joy and fullness of life.
It has been a great blessing to have our neighbors and our countrymen looking at the beauty of the faith for a change — looking at what we’re really all about.
It’s as if Jesus has been saying those beautiful words to us, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
We should not forget to thank the Lord for these precious times of grace, and to drink deeply of the graces he offers in them.
Perhaps we might think, too, that he is telling us, for those times when our daily crosses seem heavy: “I’m here. Have courage. Be not afraid. I am the light of the world.”