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Fr. Dale's Reflection #9

First off, I must tell you, I never expected to be writing these reflections nine weeks into this pandemic. Somehow, in my mind, I thought it would go for a month or so and we would have a handle on it. Here we are over two months later, and we still do not have a handle. In fact, in some ways, we do not even seem to have a clue as to how to defeat this virus. It seems overwhelming. As a result, we are seeing a rise in anger, domestic violence, suicide, and drinking.
The coronavirus has caused a great deal of pain. Much of the pain has to do with economic hardship. Families are frightened about the future. And in parts of the country, the death toll has been staggering. For many, this loss and pain are now turning into anger.
Anger is a defense mechanism. It is usually a response to fear. When life seems out of control, it is natural to begin to feel fear. The problem with anger is that it gives the illusion that with strength or power we can regain control. It rarely works. Unfortunately, the anger simply becomes another piece of an out of control situation. And, when you get a bunch of angry people together, what you have is chaos.
The spiritual writer Richard Rohr reminds us, "If we don't find a way to transform our pain, we will always transmit it to those around us or turn it against ourselves. We will create tension, negativity, suspicion and fear wherever we go."
That seems to me to be what is happening in our world right now. It feels like the good will we experienced at the beginning of this pandemic has now turned into suspicion, negativity, and fear. We want to regain a sense of our lives and our futures, but no one is showing us how to do that. We are transmitting our pain to the President, the Governor, the politicians, the religious leaders, and to foreign governments.
The truth is that only God can transform our pain. Only God can take our pain and associate our pain with the cross of Christ. Only God can redeem pain and turn it into resurrection. How can God do that? When we surrender our will and our lives to Him, then we allow Him to treat us as He treated His own Son. He will take our hurt, confusion, and brokenness and change US into the image and likeness of Christ.
These have been long and hard days for us all. I truly do not know how unbelievers are coping with the stress. I know even those of us who believe that God is in control are struggling. But, when we believers take the next step, the big step into total surrender to God, amazing things begin to happen.
I invite you, I encourage you, to place yourselves and your families completely into God's hands. He will not let you fall, nor will He abandon you. The old saying is true, "Anything under Gods control is never out of control."

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