Chaos or Peace?
Updated: May 2, 2020
"While the world changes, the cross stands firm"
In today's world, there are so many things that are changing. Right now the whole world is in a state of crisis. The way we used to relate to one another has now been replaced with social distancing and wearing masks. Some people say "things are never going to be the same." While others say "the world is forever changed." Is this really going to be "the new normal?" We really don't know, and it can create a state of anxiety when things are uncertain. But, one thing that is certain and never changes is, God. He is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. He is constant and is outside of space and time.
In my last blog, I wrote about the power of Hope and how to find that hope in knowing Jesus personally. He is the light in the darkness and can help us get through any storm. Because, that is what this pandemic is - it is a storm. But just like any storm, it will pass. This is not going to be around forever and things will get better. This time of slowing down has been different for different people. Some are benefiting from this time and others are not. But one thing can be clear - God is showing us something during this time. What is it that He is trying to tell you? What are you learning from this season? Some people could be searching for meaning in their lives right now, while others are searching for answers.
Usually, when searching for answers people find themselves asking God questions. Looking to Him for advice. After all, isn't he All Knowing and All Powerful? Yes, He is all that, but He is also a good, good Father and a gentle parent who is madly in love with you and all of his creation. He is very caring, compassionate and loving. This sounds great, doesn't it? You may ask yourself, how can I access this kind of love? Well, you can begin by talking with Him in prayer. This is how He communicates with the soul. You can also find Him when reading the Bible. It is His true word written by the Holy Spirit. He also communicates through creation, a sunset, sunrise, or a mountaintop. He also communicates through people and through His Church. That is, the Catholic Church that He created.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (31) states that a person can come to know God through creation, the human person and revelation which is Jesus Christ. When Jesus walked the earth a little over two thousand years ago, He not only came to save humanity from our sins but also started a church. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus takes his disciples to the district of Caesare'a Philippi and asks Peter "who do men say that the son of man is?" They respond by saying, "some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah." Then Jesus asks again, "But who do you say that I am." and Peter replied "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." and Jesus answered Him, "Blessed are you Simon, Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
The Catholic Church can trace back all of the popes back to Peter. He was the first Pope in the Church. This is called Apostolic succession. Although, the church has apostolic succession and people can learn about the church through apologetics, learning about Jesus is not the same as knowing Him. In order to know Jesus in an intimate and personal way, a person would need to have an encounter with Him. One way to encounter the living Christ, is to come to His home and spend time with him. That is, at the Holy Mass - church. It is where peace and love can be found. The Holy Mass is Heaven on earth, the way God planned it.
If you have been away from the church or drifted away, that's alright. You are always welcomed back, even if it has been years or decades. I urge and suggest you to take another look at the church. It is All about Love. If you are not Catholic and are thinking about becoming part of the faith, I also urge you to seek, ask questions and to follow that tug at your heart. Jesus is always welcoming people back home. The church has been under a lot of scrunity and persecution in the past few years. It has always been that way since it began two thousand years ago. The Catholic Church is a continuation of Christ. The Church is constantly under persecution, just as Jesus was persecuted. The Catholic Church was the first to start hospitals and care for the sick, just as Jesus healed many sick people and even raised Lazurus from the dead. The Church also feeds many poor people through hundreds of organizations, just like Jesus had love for the poor. Some people also mention how the church has "too many rules or don't agree with the teachings." Although, there may be some things a person does not agree with, it shouldn't prevent someone from being loved. You don't have to agree with all of the teachings to belong to Christ. He meets you where you are at in your life and the Holy Spirit will lead you to the truth. When I was a teenager, I didn't agree with everything and had lots of questions about my faith. When I was open to the healing of God's love, was when He showed me the Truth of His Church.
I have counseled many families whose lives were in chaos when I was working as a Marriage and Family Therapist. The reason why these families were in chaos was because each familiy member did not want follow rules, boundaries were either too permiable or too rigid. No one knew what to expect from one another. There was a lack of respect in authority and parents were not in control. The reason we have rules in society, in work places, in schools, organizations, in families and yes in churches is to foster and balence structure. Without structure and rules there would be chaos. Rules are a gesture of love. They guide people in the right direction. Parents set boundaries and rules because they want the best for their children and know what will help them and what will hurt them.
The same rings true with God. He wants what is best for His children. That means you and me. We are all of His children. The rules in churches are set by Him, not by man. He knows what will bring you joy and what will bring you heartache. The Holy Spirit guides His church. And, the Ten commandments are given to all humanity, not just certain religions. These 10 rules are to foster love, peace and harmony within a soul. Actually, if you abide by the first three, then you won't have any problems with the rest of them. The first three deal with God and a relationship with Him (the rest are with other people). Rebellion brings chaos, anger and disruption in a person's soul. Rebellion is unresolved anger that needs to be healed. It is a childhood wound when a parent shows dissapproval towards the child and therefore the child rebels against his/her parent. Many times, people project these feelings onto God. Projection is a psychological term where the ego tries to defend itself. For example, if that parent dissapproved of the child or was neglectful or judgmental, then that child will grow into an adult projecting their angry feelings onto God. Therefore rebelling against Him and His Church. Again, as I mentioned earlier, God is a good, good Father (just like the lyrics in the song by Chris Tomlin). He is constant in any storm and the cross of Christ stands firm.
Maybe God is giving you this time to self reflect, to come back to Him, to heal, to surrender, or to be loved. How is your heart while reading this? Is there anything that is sturring up inside of you? I hope this has been insightful and thought provoking. Remember God loves you beyond all the galaxies in the Universe. He wants you to have that peace in your soul that you are made for. Question is, do you want it too?
About the Author: Donna L. Marotto is a Faith Formation Director/Youth Minister at Our Lady of Mercy Church in CT. She is also a Lay Franciscan and has her license in Marriage and Family Therapy.