The news media report steadily on vaccine numbers, eligibility, and availability. We learn that millions receive a shot every day in this country. As the number of the vaccinated grows, we await anxiously the promised fall in the number of the infected, the hospitalized and the dying. We await the return of a country that feels healthy and not sickened by a virus.
Here at the retreat center, as we await the return of our retreatants, as we hope to see people praying throughout our too long closed grounds, and as Holy Week progresses, I look around and am amazed at how the Lord invites me to be healthy. Because so much of this place reminds me of God, it resembles a steady vaccination against spiritual illness and ennui.
The beauty of the natural world seen through every window and in every step outdoors whispers that God has created a really beautiful life for me. The statues, the Chapel and even the benches on the property tell me that God is only a prayer away from me. The work, whether Zoom-ing, making videos or putting retreats together, challenges me to live what I say. And the goodness of my Jesuit brothers reminds me that God is a Trinity of love.
Especially in this Holy Week, as I think of Jesus’ Passion, His Death and His Resurrection, I get drawn out of unhealthy and selfish ways of looking at life and gaze upon a sacrifice of love so powerful that it sends waves of spiritual and psychological healing though me.
May this Holy Week bring you the peace and healing of the Crucified and Risen Lord of life and the Healer of your soul!
Fr. John Auther, SJ is a Jesuit for 42 years and a priest for almost 30 years. In his pastoral ministry he has devoted a good deal of time to Spanish-speaking work, detention facilities and retreats. He began working at JRC in January 2020.