June 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ: Christ is in our midst!

I was hiking through the Great Smokey mountains on the Appalachian Trail during my high school days with several of my friends. The way you know you are on the trial is that every so often you will see a red mark on a tree. After a while I noticed that there were no red marks! We were lost.

After clambering over fallen trees and wading down a gushing stream or two we found a clear spot to set up camp for the night. The woods become very dark when the sun goes down as the heavy canopy of limbs and leaves blocks out the fading light. We were happy to have found a clearing suitable for the night before the darkness fell.

As we sat around the camp fire we expressed our anxiety over being lost. All of us were frightened and not ashamed to admit it. Suddenly a thought occuned to me as I allowed my fear to settle and looked up through the trees at the beautiful sparkling sky.

"You know guys, if God knows where we are, then how can we be lost?" The next day we found the trail not ten yards or less from where we had camped.

The truth is that we are never lost. Even when we feel that way. Even when life seems unmanageable and we find ourselves at the end of our hope. God is always there. Closer than our breath. In us, around us, above us, below us, like St. Patrick's rightfully renowned "Breastplate" proclaims. We can never be separate from him and so we never have reason tr allow fear to ove1whelm us.

As St. Paul writes, "What can separate us from the love of God...? Nothing in life, or in death. To be conscious of this truth is to be at peace. Peace is not the goal, peace is the path.

In Christ,

Fr. Antony