Abbot Paul Mark comments on our hope in these turbulent times: “The year is leaving us nearly breathless; the largest wildfires in California’s history raging on both sides of our Sacramento Valley, spewing smoke and ash all over us, making it hazardous to walk and breathe out of doors; political turmoil and fear as the country approaches a presidential election; social unrest shaking the foundations of law and order, at least as we perceive these; a pandemic that continues to run unleashed resulting in thousands of serious health issues and deaths, disrupting businesses and causing school closures. What more can I add?
Well, I have good news to share with you, today, September 25, is the feast of Our Lady of Mercy. How appropriate that this feast occurs in the month of September, the month we commemorate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. God’s Son came into our world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him. The Gospel is nothing less than a celebration of this mercy of salvation. Hence our Blessed Mother, as model and image of the church, reflects the beauty and truth of God’s salvific mercy and compassion. It is this mercy of God that gives me reason to hope in these seemingly dark and confusing days of epochal change for our world, society, and nature.
Mercy and compassion are possible for me to practice because God first shows merciful compassion towards me and all women and men. I hope September and the season of autumn afford the opportunity for me to celebrate and practice the gift of merciful compassion to others and even to myself, even though so little of compassion is seemingly apparent in the world we find ourselves in today.”