“Cast All Your Anxiety on Him Because He Cares For You.” (1 Peter 5:7)
“Great and wonderful are Your works, O Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?” (Revelations 15:3-4). “There is none like You, O LORD. You are great, and Your name is mighty in power. Who would not fear You, O King of nations? This is Your due” (Jeremiah 10:6-7).
Dearly Beloved in Christ and in St, Dominic’s Parish, in the last few days, I have spent time contemplating the passages above: we began the year in high spirits, and as a community of believers, we listed out a number of things we hoped to achieve in the course of the year; our dreams, aspirations, expectations as members of this community of faith. In the same vein, I believe many of us as individuals had plans and expectations for the year. It was not as if we did not bear in mind the wise man’s counsel which says “you do not plan outside of God”, hence all our plans were based on the underlying principle; Deo volente – God willing.
That principle brings me to why my mind has been dwelling on the passages mentioned above. Yes, we never lost sight of the fact that everything depended on God willing to perfect our plans and the work of our hands. After all, what Christian worth the name “Christian” does not know that “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build labour in vain” or “unless the Lord watches over the city, in vain does the watchman stay awake” (Psalm 127:1-2)? So we also entrusted everything into God’s Hands by joining the psalmist in saying, “May the favour of the Lord be upon us and grant success to the work of our hands O Lord; yes, grant success to the work of our hands O Lord.” (Psalm 90:17).
Much as we had all these at the back of our minds, I think we still took it for granted that all we had requested had been ”stamped and approved by God”. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect that we would see such unprecedented events in our own times. All the
“anointed men of God” who always prophesy abundant blessings and years of favour at their “Crossover Night” services did not see this coming?
“Great and wonderful are your works O Lord… who would not fear you and glorify your
name?” Our churches have become empty and desolate, our streets, market places and recreation centres were declared inaccessible and the great roads, bridges and airports built by man who prided himself for his ingenuity have become unused!
As I spent time ruminating on the aforementioned passages of scripture, I cannot but think of the opening lines of that classic work, The Confessions of St. Augustine:
“You are great, Lord, and highly to be praised (Psalm 145: 3); great is Your power, and Your
wisdom beyond measure (Psalm 147:5). Yet man, who is only an infinitesimal part of Your
creation, desires to praise You. He fully realizes his mortality, bears witness to his sinful nature
and is aware that You, O God, resist the proud (1 Peter 5:3). And yet, this man, this minute part of Your creation, desires to praise You. You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are
restless until they rest in You. Grant, O Lord, that I may know and understand which is my first
obligation – to call upon You or to praise You and whether first I must know You or call upon
– Confessions of St. Augustine. Book 1, chapter 1)
Yes, Lord, much as we think we know You Lord, it is obvious we do not. Do we actually call on you when we say we do? What about our praises? After all, they add nothing to your greatness. We praise you because it actually profits us for our salvation.
Dearly beloved in Christ, today marks the ninth Sunday we have not been able to gather as a community of believers to worship God. Many have lost fortunes as they have not been able to go about their usual business activities. Many also have died and lost those they hold dear. Many are at the brink of despair.
I call on us to remain resilient and trust in God. Holy Mother Church calls us on at these trying times to continue to look up to God who made heaven and earth, from whom our help shall come. Now it is very clear that we need to recognize that there can be no help outside of Him. Let us continue to hopefully look out for the light at the end of the tunnel. The parish office is now open, let us book masses seeking God’s Face. Outside of the mass, the next greatest form of prayer is the Rosary. In this month of May, more than ever before, let us pray our Rosary as families, calling on our Mother, the Help of Christians to intercede for us.
On Thursday the 21st of May, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of Christ, forty days after His resurrection. In ascending, He promised He would not leave us orphans; that He would send us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, Paraclete and Comforter. From Friday the 22nd of May, we shall begin our Nine Day Pentecost Novena. Let us pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that the face of the earth may be renewed.
Yes, with the Holy Spirit, the Love of the Father and the Son (a la St. Augustine et St. Thomas Aquinas), there is no fear. So I say to you, do not be afraid, many are anxious, but we are believers: look up to the Lord; “CAST ALL YOUR ANXIETY ON HIM BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU.” (1 PETER 5:7)
Categorised in: Pastor's Blog
This post was written by Benjamin Eragbele