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Fr. Dale's Reflections #7

Winston Churchill once said, "If you are going through hell, keep going." Great advice! If you are going through tough times, do not stop to think about how hard it is. Keep your head up and keep moving forward. If you stop and feel sorry for yourself or turn yourself into a victim, you just prolong the ordeal.
Churchill was a great leader and a wise man. His words from World War II provide wisdom for us today as to how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. We need to keep looking forward to better days and better times in our country.
I feel I spent a few years of my life "in hell." I know many men and women who went through the Great Depression, wars, and 9-11 in New York feel they know what hell is because they went through it as well. Others have gone through the personal hell of cancer, Alzheimer's with a loved one, divorce, and extended joblessness.
Hell may look different for each of us, but it is just as painful.
This current crisis has been hard on everyone, but it has seemed like hell for some. What I have learned in my life is that so much of what we experience depends on our perspective.
Hell by definition is a place or a condition where God does not dwell. Hell is a place of hopelessness and sadness because God is not present.
My friends, our perspective needs to change. We are not in hell because of this virus. It may feel like that at times. But God is not absent from our situation. God is in our midst. We can see Him in the courage of medical personnel in the hospital. We can see Him in the acts of kindness and generosity that people are showing one another. And we can see Him in the hope that we feel for a better tomorrow. If we were truly in hell, there would be no hope.
Churchill's advice still stands, however. Through God's grace, hope, and courage we can give each other what we need to keep moving forward. I know so many are frustrated or lonely, but this will pass. God has not abandoned us.
During this time of Covid-19, prayer becomes very important. In a real sense, prayer becomes a lifeline for us. People in hell "don't have a prayer." We do. We can pray for healing, our nation, our health, and our future. We can pray for those we love and those who are ill. We can pray that we use this time wisely. It seems like the earth is healing from pollution, the economy is re-arranging, and families are coming back together. We can pray that we learn, once again, how to put God back into the center of our lives.
We are in difficult times. We are not in hell. Let's keep going and see where God leads us. I think it will be exciting.

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