By Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S.
One of my favorite parables of faith and hope is that of a young father who took his five-year-old daughter out for a ride in a sailboat on a beautiful sunny afternoon. As they skipped across the water the young girl squealed with delight, “Daddy, Daddy, I can LOOK farther than my eyes can SEE.”
This parable is a beautiful description of what faith and hope is all about. When we look upon life with the eyes of faith we can look farther than our eyes can see, we can trust that we have a future full of hope because of God’s covenant of love sealed in the Precious Blood of Jesus.
This is important for us to remember as we experience the reality of COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Our lives are no longer skipping freely across the ocean of life. For many of us, our boat has come to a stop and now we feel the strong, forceful winds of the pandemic tossing us about like a cork in choppy waters. We need an anchor to give us stability and strength.
In Christian art, the virtue of hope is often imaged as an anchor. Hope is a virtue, a gift from God that is freely given to all of us. It is an important gift of the Spirit for us to pray for during these times of uncertainly, as the shadow of the cross darkens our world.
This Lenten season we did not have to go looking for a sacrifice to bring to our Lenten journey; it came to us in the form of COVID-19. In the midst of this storm, we take a step back and ask, “How have I lost sight of the person God created me to be?”
- Have cataracts formed over my eyes through bad habits or a cynical attitude?
- Have I closed my eyes to others in selfishness?
- Have I been lulled to sleep in a world of instant gratification?
- Has my need for control kept me from seeing God’s will?
- Has my vision become blurred by an unhealthy use of social media?
- In my pride, have I failed to see each person as a child of God?
- Has fear led me into darkness and eroded my trust in God?
In this season of grace, we hear the invitation to return to the Lord with all our heart. Jesus desires to restore our sight so that we can live as children of the Light in this world.
Imagine yourself coming home late at night in total darkness. You think you know your way around the house and so you don’t bother to turn on the lights as you head to bed. Little do you know that one of the kid’s toys is in your path and you trip over it and fall to the ground. Had you turned on the lights there would not have been any problem navigating your way around the room. It’s not that the light changes anything in the room—yet it makes a big difference in how you relate to the space.
The same is true in our lives of faith. When we look at life with the eyes of faith it doesn’t change the reality we must deal with, but it does change how we choose to live within that reality. With the gifts of faith, hope and love we can see that God is the one in control and that God’s covenant of love, sealed in the Precious Blood of Jesus, tells us we are not alone in our suffering and that he will always lead us to life. Hope does not shy away from suffering in life. And so, let the crucifix be the anchor you tie yourself to in the midst of this storm and learn to depend on God.
In the second week of Lent, we had the story of the transfiguration of Jesus, a vision of what would be in the Kingdom of God. The disciples were invited to look farther than their eyes could see so that when the cross came their way, they had a memory that would sustain them as a gift of hope, a vision for the future. As a people who live by hope, we hold the vision of the resurrection in our hearts because we know the end of the story!
With the clear eyes of faith, we can say with confidence that the day will come when we’ll hear the words “anchors aweigh,” to pull up the anchor of hope that’s holding us safe and secure in this current storm and to begin sailing freely in life once again, as a people changed and made new, through the saving Blood of Christ.
To view the full scripture reading, click here.
Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S., is the pastor of the Dayton Region Seven parishes, which include Emmanuel, Holy Trinity and St. Joseph.