byMost Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito, Bishop of Palm Beach
As we begin the month of August, we are already more than halfway through the summer as well as through the year 2022. Halfway points are good opportunities to look back and to look ahead. They provide us with a perspective especially in regard to how we are living our lives. While we do not want to live in the past nor the future, we need to take stock of ourselves now so that each present moment is a time of grace. The past has brought us to where we are and contains many lessons. The future is where we are moving, whether we like it or not. The direction with which we choose to move into it gives us meaning here and now. In a real way, the past and future define where we are now. This more quiet time of the year in southern Florida gives us a fitting opportunity to take stock of where we have come from and where we are going but always in the present context.
It is well always for us to remember that only the present moment possesses grace. To live in the past or in the future is to live in a graceless moment. We cannot change the past. While we can reflect on its many happy memories or dwell on the difficulties that have occurred, God gives us only the grace to experience the past in the present moment. It is His grace which gives us the joys of happy memories or the ability to cope with the difficulties that have occurred. To worry or to be overly concerned as to what is going to happen in the future may overwhelm us. Again, we do not possess the grace for that moment but will when the time arrives. God gives us the grace to live in the present moment and it is this grace that gives us the courage and determination to move into the future.
All of this helps us to understand that faith truly is the keystone of our lives. Without faith perspective in life is lost. It is our faith in God and in the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, that enables us to live fully now and to understand better how we have gotten to where we are and how we choose to move into the future.
As we go through life, look back and look ahead, we face many joys, challenges, sorrows and ultimately the end of our earthly days as well as those of our loved ones. These are part of every life in this world and will be there whether we have faith or not. However, faith enables us to face life and all that comes with it with a perspective that sees the true meaning of life. Faith enables us to see God’s loving presence and His plan for each of us in our journey through this world. Our faith enables us to face the suffering and loss we all encounter through the Cross and Resurrection of Christ which give us hope, courage and joy.
The one who possesses the gift of faith, finds it difficult to imagine life without it. Through faith we know the reality of eternal life which moves us into the fullness of life with God where ultimately we are all heading. We can never take our faith for granted and the more we grow in it, the more we are able to live fully in the present moment. We understand the past better and look to the future with meaning and purpose.
As we come to this mid-point of summer and the year 2022, may we do so with renewed faith. Reflecting on the past and looking ahead, may we be reminded of the need that we have to grow in our faith. Faith is what truly matters. Let us anticipate the days ahead in a manner that will help us celebrate our faith now as we come to know the Lord, His Church, and the meaning of our lives even more deeply.
May the rest of this summer and the year 2022 be filled with the joy of faith!
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
July 29, 2022