It is said that the world measures time in hours and minutes, while the Church thinks in terms of centuries.
That is true. But there is something else that is important in how we look at the world as Catholics: Catholics also understand that there is more to this world than meets the eye.
Our God is God in “all things visible and invisible,” as we say in our confession of faith. There is a world that goes unseen — a world of the Spirit that moves beneath the news and events and appearances of everyday life.
And though we cannot see it, God is speaking and acting — angels assist us and saints can hear our prayers and intercede for us.
And though we cannot see it, God is still in control — his Spirit is moving and acting through the humble works of ordinary men and women.
We need to keep this perspective during these troubling days that we are living through.
When I read American newspapers and look at the news shows these days, it seems like what is going on in Washington, D.C., is the only thing that matters in the whole world. And we are being told that everything there is in a crisis.
It is hard to tell what is actually going on, because too much of our “news” these days is mixed up with rumors and speculations that are being driven by political agendas.
But, in “Church time,” these are not only the initial months of a new presidential administration in Washington, D.C.
In Church time, this is the week we are remembering the day our Lord ascended into heaven. And this week we begin 10 days of intense prayer and devotion to the Holy Spirit — as we get ready to celebrate Pentecost, the day that God poured out his Holy Spirit into the world.
The Holy Spirit is the true agent of history; we can never forget that. This is one of the lessons the Church teaches during these days of Easter, as we read the Acts of the Apostles in our liturgy.
Hearing these stories of the first Christians reminds us that the Church’s mission is not just a “job” for clergy and Church professionals. God calls all of us to holiness and to be missionary disciples.
Knowing Jesus gives our lives new hope — the joy of living in the light of God’s love and mercy. But with this new life comes a new identity and a new responsibility.
To be a Christian means more than accepting Jesus Christ. We need to proclaim him. Jesus calls us to follow him — that is an action, a decision that implies a way of life.
Following Jesus means sharing in his mission of spreading God’s love and mercy. It means bringing others to the beautiful encounter of finding Jesus.
We have the same duty in our times and in our society as those first Christians had during the Roman Empire.
Our society will be renewed by prayer, not by politics. True renewal is always the work of the Holy Spirit. It is not about us. It is never about us.
Reading the Acts of the Apostles, we understand that with God everything is possible. The first Christians did nothing from their own power. What they did was allow themselves to be instruments of God.
The apostles could do nothing apart from the Holy Spirit. And neither can we.
We need to be more attentive to allowing the Lord to work within us. We need to open our hearts and let the Holy Spirit accomplish what he wants in our lives.
And as the first disciples did, we need to pray and try hard to keep a supernatural outlook, a transcendent perspective.
Jesus is involved in our lives and he is working in hidden ways in the events in the world. Our challenge is to open our eyes to see him, to open our ears to hear his voice and to open our hearts to live in his presence and to do his will.
One of the saints said, “All times are dangerous times.” That is true.
But St. Augustine reminds us that we have a beautiful duty to work with the Holy Spirit to shape the times we are living in.
In one of his sermons, he said: “Bad times! Troublesome times! This is what people are saying. Let our lives be good, and the times will be good. We make our times. Such as we are, such are the times.”
Pray for me this week and I will be praying for you.
And let us ask our Mother Mary to help us make these days before Pentecost a time of deep devotion and openness to the Holy Spirit, that through his actions in our lives we might renew the face of our society.