Thursday, November 1, 2012

Of Saints and Hurricanes

'Truly, matters in the world are in a bad state; but if you and I begin in earnest to reform ourselves, a really good beginning will have been made.'
St. Peter of Alcantara

Truth is so much stranger than fiction. It's amazing to me how life can sometimes throw events and ironies in our path that would seem contrived in a bestselling novel or blockbuster movie.

As Halloween has come and gone this year, it has eerily collided with real life horrors unfolding as we learn the full destruction of Hurricane Sandy. And today, as we who are Catholic celebrate the Feast of All Saints, the sobering toll of this larger-than-fiction storm reminds us that no matter who we are, our true calling is to help one another, especially in the face of overwhelming tragedy such as this.

I've heard amazing stories of people putting others' well being and lives well above their own. I've heard other stories too of lawlessness, callousness and greed, but I'm sure that there are many, many more instances that we'll never know of selflessness and love.

God knows, and even if we never hear these stories, the fact that they exist makes our world a better place.

I can't help but wonder how this storm will affect us collectively and change us. We became a different society after Hurricane Katrina; we're a little less trusting in our social systems, our government and our infrastructures. I hope that this time the result of this storm will be more positive than negative.

Hurricane Sandy's widespread destruction has forced us, no matter how far we live from the storm's path, to face our deepest fears of not being in control. But one thing that we can control is our decision to act bravely with compassion or to decide that this is someone else's problem.

Perhaps the significance of the storm's timing near All Saints' Day, a time when we turn to the lives of Saints for guidance, will inspire us to be our best, most compassionate selves in responding to people's immediate needs in the coming days. And I hope it brings out our most innovative and creative selves in creating solutions for similar crises in the future.

'Patiently endure the distressing and painful things that befall you, for through them God in His providence is purifying you.'
St. Thalassios the Libyan

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