Emmitsburg Council of Churches

"All weather is good weather, because God made it." 
St. Teresa of Avila

Father John J. Lombardi

This past week's beautiful and snowy weather causes this chaplain to meditate on the thing we talk about the most, but, in fact, do the least about-the weather!

First point: Thanks to the many people-seminarians, locals, homeschoolers, snow-shovelers who helped "liberate" the Grotto paths, chapel and parking lot of the snow-it was a lot of work and could not have been done without all of them…I noticed how God provides in difficult situations the grace needed, especially when least expected… "All things work together for those who love God." Rm. 8:28

One of the Mount-seminarians--Darin from Dakota--wisely said during the snowstorm, "Well, the weather must be God's will because we can't do anything about it." How true-what a lesson!…God hands us many gifts and myriads of graces--how do we, as spiritual creatures, respond to these knowing that the given situation or activity is God's will? Or do we miss His will and grace because we think it is coming somewhere or sometime else? Do we respond to Him, and His succesionless and perfect will-in a (check one): cranky, complacent or cooperative way?

Paralysis of analysis: Are you "glued to the tube"-so fixated on the weather forecasts that you are missing the weather itself (that God is providing). Are you unreasonably attending to what people are saying about the weather versus being in it, or so caught up in the forecasts you are missing other duties and joys in life? Are you so addicted to the "forecasting syndrome" that it takes on a "life of itself"?…God wants us to use common sense-to know when weather conditions are favorable for travel, for a picnic or some other activity-but does He want weather forecasting and communications to become so unreasonable that they cloud out (pardon the pun) reality itself, our inner peace and our discipleship? Americans have a great propensity for excess (esp. at Christmas and in winter weather storm watches), and it is easy during this time to become obsessively excessive-call it the snowball effect (pun intended!), whereby one story and forecast builds upon another and we are entrapped by it all. It seems the more technology and communications systems we get, the more we can get mired by them; they are meant to help us, not overwhelm us.

Missing reality for the map: Forecasts are like maps-they point to reality, not replace it. When we hear "the weather is supposed to be 'x'…," and have this particular expectation implanted irrevocably in our minds like a "filter," and when the actual weather God brewed up for us arrives, and we are waiting for "weather x" which was forecasted, we cannot accept the God-given weather because of our filters and forecasts which seem to "demand" a different reality (i.e., "the weather should be…"); our technology, minds and ignorance become oppressive: the more we impress upon "reality" our fixed ideas and forecasts-- the less we are happy, capable of enjoying the present moment God gives us; we become "overburdened moderns" incapable of enjoying a beautiful world.

A "Winter Spring": When I arrived early last Sunday morning after the snowfall, the sun was shining brilliantly and pristinely, and the vast sky was deep blue; the Virgin's golden statue on Pangborn Belltower beamed in a dazzling radiance; and the birds-they sung! One bird was cooing, and another-a finch, I think-was warbling a song that melodiously echoed and complemented the other bird; an ornithology choir it was a stunning chorus of God's creation right in the middle of-Winter. Occasionally I would see a turkey vulture silently soar over our Holy Mountain. As I looked into the distance of St. Joseph's Valley, the virginal and unfiltered sun drenched the snow-covered world in a new, transformed day…It seemed to this wayfaring-chaplain that nothing could match the scene-this Winter scene and snow was like a grace, manifested somehow faintly how God covers a seeking soul, completely transforming it in an entrancing and mystically crystalline union of brightness!

MEDITATIONS: Am I often "waiting for reality" and, when "it arrives," I find myself still waiting?…How can I practice the presence of God in my life more-by offering up and accepting every moment, as a gift from-and to-God?…Am I overly attuned to the media and "communications networks" so that I am not praying, not doing my spiritual reading, not conversing with God? "Frost and chill, bless the Lord." Daniel 3.

PRO LIFE: last week many students and Mt. St, Mary's folks went to the March For Life in Washington--a couple observations. On the way down we heard a radio report intimating that thousands FOR LIFE and FOR ABORTION would be there. No. I didn't see or hear one pro-abortion person. The next day The New York Times had a beautiful picture of some angelic-like nuns glistening in the sunshine marching FOR life. The caption basically suggested there were equal numbers there for and against Roe v. Wade: these half-truths and distortions by the media are damaging and should remind us of the great Catholic author, George Orwell's novel, "1984," which warned us of those who control the language system of government and culture will also control people's minds…Despite this, I am always impressed and inspired by the many, myriad and majestic marchers who bravely travel to march for and uphold life-against such great odds and opposition. I am especially thankful for the joyous young people (I feel like a Grey Panther!) who enthusiastically brighten our hearts and refreshingly witness to the sanctity of human life…

ABORTION and OCNVERSION: about every ten seconds a child is killed in our country alone. Let us always remember that anyone who has had-or helped procure-- an abortion, is forgivable and able to reconcile to God and our Church-the Lord wants you back in His graces!…Remember that the infamous Dr. Bernard Nathanson performed thousands of abortions and professed his right to do so. Later, after the Lord touched Him, he stopped this, saw his dark path, and eventually repented; and then he became a devout Catholic! Actually, the lady who presented Roe versus Wade to the Supreme Court in 1973 admitted she was victimized into the case, repented and became a Christian and then a Catholic…No matter what we have done in life God can change us-and keep changing us-let's thank Him for His Divine Mercy!

QUOTE(s) of THE WEEK: "I am not I, nor You / yet You are I in me. / And so my God / I pay all homage sole to Thee." Angelus Silesius, Polish priest-convert. (See St. Lk 9:23)

SPIRITUAL QUOTE:  St Bernadette of Lourdes…Meditation: "O Most Compassionate Heart of my Jesus, accept each of my tears, each cry of pain from me as a supplication for all those who suffer, for all those who weep, for all those who forget You. My Jesus, I am in pain, and I love You…I suffer, and my groans go up unceasingly to You, my Comforter. Into Your Most Adorable Heart I shed my tears, to It I confide my sighs and my anguish; to Its bitter sorrows I confide my bitter sorrows. Sanctify them, my Jesus, by this holy union." How can I pray and make this my prayer and offer up all my sufferings as did St. Bernadette?

Read other Sermons by Father John J. Lombardi