Lenten Message from Marist School President Father Bill Rowland, S.M.
I want to acknowledge the unique circumstances in which we will be celebrating Holy Week. Recall that the Hebrews were confined to their homes where they celebrated the first Passover meal before leaving Egypt. Like them, we are committed to staying home as we wait for the coronavirus disease to have spent itself, allowing us to reclaim some normalcy. Admittedly, that will have to be redefined in light of this experience.
Some in our community are battling the coronavirus or may even be mourning the loss of a loved one to the disease. Others find themselves suddenly unemployed or living with the fear that reality could be theirs soon. Indeed, most of us are living with some level of anxiety and grief over what is occurring. As Pope Francis recently acknowledged, “We are all in this together.” Being in the age group that is among those who are more susceptible to being infected, I echo those words.
In the spirit of St. Paul, I encourage you to remain steadfast in your faith during this uncertain time. “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) Instead, conform yourself to Christ and say with him, “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46), meaning, I commend my dreams, my hopes, my plans, my present, my future, my worries, my very life into His hands. That is an example of heroic faith.
We will never know if we possess heroic faith in God unless or until we are confronted with some circumstance that appears to be without meaning or purpose, yet, we still choose to trust that its meaning and purpose will one day be revealed to us by God who loves us. I must warn you. Heroic faith does not come cheaply. It is forged by trials, voiced in the midst of them, born out of our doubts, fears, anger, frustration, and, more likely than not, accompanied by tears.
The resurrection of Jesus assures us that such faith is not misplaced, that his Father, who is our Father, is faithful. Again, in the spirit of St. Paul, I encourage you to remain steadfast in your faith in God’s mercy and love for you during these difficult times. Take solace from Mary, who made a similar act of faith when she stood with Jesus under his cross, and who now stands under our cross to bolster our own.
Remember, we are all in this together (#MaristTogether).
In the name of Mary,
Fr. Bill Rowland, S.M.
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