During this podcast, Deacon Keating will offer his insights on “the mystery of this present moment.”
Here a few of his comments:
So, the wisdom of the Saints comes back to us again and again. Of course, in good times we never listened to the saints because we got this. And in bad times, we’re suffering so much, that a lot of times they can’t get their wisdom through to us because of our pain. So, it’s quite paradoxical. But the wisdom of the Saints is this, that throughout our life, no matter what we’re experiencing in suffering or enjoying, we should always be sloughing off the excess of our days, any idols that we are drawing artificial consolation from. We should be seeking Holy communion, no matter whether we’re in good times or bad times.
So, when bad times come or when good times come, everything is calculated toward reality and peace because we have been suffering the coming of Holy communion throughout our entire life. So, when people don’t have this Holy communion during bad times like we’re in right now, we can panic and we can start grasping at straws, and thinking that everything is over and ending. Anxiety then becomes our normal state. So, again, the saints would counsel us when this horrible virus passes, if we could just remember not to go back to being normal Americans, but to go back to Him and get our equilibrium set, and the substance of our interior life set. So that when the next reminder that everything on this planet is not forever, when that next reminder comes, we’ll have less panic and more peace because we will have been living for a while then in Holy communion.
Further in the conversation:
The reason there’s so much fear is that we are acknowledging that death is real. Again, most of our popular culture is a mask keeping us from ever thinking about death. Now there are all these masks that have dropped, death comes to the fore and it’s not something we want to rebel in or say, “Let’s look at this and some type of McCobb way.” But we’ve known as believers, that death has always been the enemy. Now we see it. We see the enemy, we’ve been afraid of the enemy.
Again, we’ve been afraid of the enemy because our Holy communion isn’t stronger enough, with our Holy friend, Jesus Christ. The deeper that friendship grows with him, the more we can confront death in peace. Without panic, without fear. Of course, there’ll be sadness, it will be mourning. But the sadness in the mourning is over the good things of life, the panic and the fear is over that which we have created in ourselves. Which is a habitual stance of isolation from God. That’s what he’s gently trying to say to us. This death has always been here. Your limit and your finitude have always been part of your life. Stop masking it and let’s look at real life. It’s okay to look at it, with me. That’s why I came so that you would not be alone when you look at it, that’s what we call salvation.
You’re looking at it from the stance of communion with him. That’s how the Saints die in joy and in peace. So push against the fear and choose a career. That would be the theme of this imposed retreat, I would say.
Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.