In this first of seven reflections, Monsignor James P. Shea reflects on the gift of faith in the midst of darkness. Delivered on Palm Sunday in the midst of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, this retreat was delivered from an empty campus.
Pope Francis, standing alone in St. Peter’s Square at nightfall for the extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing of 2020, quoted the words of Jesus to the Apostles, who thought their boat was sinking while their master was asleep: “Why are you afraid,” Jesus asked, “have you no faith?” The Holy Father noted that the question was not so much about whether God exists or not, but whether we are willing to come to him and trust in him. We say that we have faith – do we really? The demons believe that God exists, and they tremble. The faith we need for an hour such as this is a loving, trusting faith that opens our eyes so that we can begin to see reality as God sees it. This is what it means to move from shadows into light, to gain the eyes of faith.
In this reflection, we begin together a pilgrimage to the cross and the great promise just beyond it. We will consider the cross of Christ in four movements. First, the cross of Christ is the true measure of the world. Second, the cross of Christ shines most brightly in times of suffering and uncertainty. Third, the cross of Christ means that Jesus is infected with the diseases of the world and conquers them from within – his blood holds the vaccine. Finally, the cross of Christ shows us how a Christian stands strong in difficult times.
More in From Shadows into the Light
Faith: Gaining God's Perspective
Faith is a matter of vision: it is a way of seeing more truly and more fully, the healing of our minds that allows us to grasp what is real and what is true in its entirety.