By CAMERON RIECKER
“Evils abound, and God has willed that evils should abound. Would that evil men did not abound, and then evils would not abound. Bad times! Troublesome times! These men are saying. Let our lives be good; and the times are good. We make our times; such as we are, such are the times.”
These words of Saint Augustine are no less pressing today than in the 4th century. The world we live in now is not the world we were raised in. The power of evil seems everywhere in our lives. We are constantly assailed by TV, phones, news and hundreds of other tools that can be employed by the evil one. The darkness oppresses the faithful today – perhaps more than any time in history.
And so, what are we to do? In the words of Saint Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4). But why should we rejoice? What cause have we for joy? God permits these days of darkness because He wishes to use the darkness to better show forth His light. In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” Even a dimly burning wick will appear radiant in a dark room. These trials are our opportunity to become Saints! And become Saints we must. Now more than ever, God is calling us to heroic acts of virtue. The grace of God is never wasted or ineffective; and now, at this moment in history, the Lord is begging us to fortify ourselves with abundant grace from His Sacred Heart.
God has allowed the evil of these days for our sanctification. But how do we obtain this grace? The answer is the same now as it was in the time of Saint Augustine or Saint Francis: constant, unyielding prayer. While we may be subject to hardships in our day-to-day lives, let us remember that “as we are so are the times.” If we are good, the times will be good. If we are holy, our days will be holy. If we are joyful, our lives will be joyful.
While working remotely or working on schoolwork from the comfort of our homes, why not take extra time for prayer? Why not make a habit of praying the rosary as a family? Is the time God is giving us spent well, or is it squandered? God wills to make us into Saints, and this is only done through prayer and good works.
Former Diocese of Evansville seminarian Cameron Riecker teaches theology at a Catholic high school in Arizona. He also served as a youth minister at St. Isidore the Farmer Parish in Celestine.