An American flag and red rose at the edge of the south reflecting pool of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in lower Manhattan in New York City, September 8, 2021. (Mike Segar/Reuters) If anxiety is our idea of normal, it’s no way to live.
‘How easy it is, in times of ease, for us to become dependent on our routines, on the established order of our day-to-day existence, to carry us along.” These words greeted subscribers to the monthly Magnificat 20 years ago on the morning after the September 11 attacks on the United States. The meditations in Magnificat (us.magnificat.net — a daily gift in my life) are chosen months in advance. There was no way for the editor to know what we all would be facing on September 12, 2001. There was many a person who saw a divine hand in that selection. It certainly helped hearts. It can again.
The meditation was from Father Walter Ciszek, S. J., a Jesuit priest who spent 23 years in Soviet prisons, convicted of being a “Vatican spy.” The words from his book He Leadeth Me come from a man with the courage of conviction and with the wisdom one gains in suffering well. They are words for we who are pandemic-weary, stunned and despondent by some of what we are seeing on the news and struggling with in our lives. We have a desire for normalcy, but would that be just a false security?
Father Ciszek has thoughts about “normal”:
We don’t have to desire much of the things of this world — to be enamored of riches, for example, or greedy or avaricious — in order to have gained this sense of comfort and well-being, to trust in them as our support — and to take God for granted. It is the status quo that we rely on, that carries us from day to day, and somehow, we begin to lose sight of the fact that under all these things and behind all these things it is
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