It's back-to-school time! As an incoming new teacher of 7th and 8th grade Religion, I have been spending considerable time cleaning and organizing my new classroom. I want my classroom to be neat and orderly. But most importantly, I want the classroom theme and environment to be tools in which the Gospel permeates to bring joy and warmth to my students.
As a mother of an incoming 2nd grader and an incoming Pre-K'r, I am ordering school uniforms, finding good deals on school supplies, making sure the shoes are within the uniform guidelines and making sure that we are practicing a good morning routine.
And then there's the solar eclipse. There are many people who are running out to snatch up the latest solar eclipse eyewear and social media is buzzing with eclipse shadow boxes. It has been 100 years since America's last coast-to-coast eclipse. It has also been 100 years since Our Lady's visit to the shepherd children in Fatima. Coincidence? I think not. The world will most likely not end on August 21 with the Solar Eclipse. But all of this preparation begs a question.
If everyone prepared for the second coming of Christ like they are preparing for back-to-school and the eclipse, wouldn't the world be a much better place?
Let's shift our attention on the recent tragedies in Charlottesville and Barcelona. The great Russian novelist, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn made an astute observation when he said that "the battle of good and evil crosses every human heart." The battle that he is referring to is the spiritual battle. Mr. Solzhenitsyn spent 50 years studying the Russian Revolution. The conclusion that he came to was that "Men have forgotten God." Is that still happening? In 1917, a year before Mr. Solzhenitsyn was born, Our Lady of Fatima made her appearance to the shepherd children, in part asking for the consecration of Russia, the home country of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Both Our Lady and Mr. Solzhenitsyn had taken notice that Russia had forgotten God. Now, it appears, the rest of the world is following suit. From the eugenics of Down Syndrome babies in Iceland (aborting babies who would have otherwise been born with Down Syndrome) to the hate crimes in Barcelona and Charlottesville, VA. Yes, the battle of good and evil does, in fact, cross every human heart.
In John 17:16, Jesus says, "They are not of this world even as I am not of the world." So again, I will ask the question. If everyone prepared for the second coming of Christ like they are preparing for back-to-school and the eclipse, wouldn't the world be a much better place?
If we know that the battle of good and evil crosses every human heart, then we must prepare ourselves with spiritual weapons. As you dust off the cobwebs in your classroom or your backpack, think about the cobwebs in your soul. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a powerful spiritual weapon. You can not only remove the cobwebs from your soul, but you can also arm yourself with the ability to choose good vs. evil. You will die to sin and walk the narrow path that leads to eternal salvation.
The Holy Eucharist is another spiritual weapon. Your body was created as a temple in which Christ resides. When we consume Him in the Holy Eucharist, we are nourishing our body and soul that will, again, aide us in choosing good vs. evil.
Eucharistic Adoration is a spiritual weapon that allows peace and calmness to permeate your soul and body. When you kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and focus on Christ's love and sacrifice, you will feel His love and peace wash over you. There's no script for Adoration. Just sit in the silence. Listen to God. We don't always need to have a list of demands to bring before our Risen Lord. Adoration is just that - Adoration. Let God know that you love Him and are thankful for Him. Listening to Our Risen Lord is far more important than talking at Him. When we thank God, our hearts and our eyes are opened more widely to His great mercy.
Yet another spiritual weapon is the Holy Rosary. St. Padre Pio called the Holy Rosary, "a glorious weapon against Satan." The Holy Rosary is a spiritual compendium of Jesus' life in the New Testament. When you cling to the Holy Rosary, you cling to Christ as you meditate on His life and resurrection. When you cling to Christ, you will turn away from evil.
As we examine the current events and prepare our schools and homes for back-to-school and as we prepare to view the extraordinary eclipse, let's not forget to prepare our souls. Dust off the cobwebs. As you take care of your home, family and loved ones, don't neglect yourself. Most especially, don't neglect your spiritual welfare.
So, if everyone prepared for the second coming of Christ like they are preparing for back-to-school and the eclipse, wouldn't the world be a much better place?
The eclipse will last only a few minutes; the school years will come and go; but your soul will live on forever.