Of the many Scripture passages that I love, I think my favorite is the one I have framed in my office which reads, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
It is ironic because Psalm 46 was most probably written during a time of war. When God speaks, He is telling those caught up in the fight to realize that He is their refuge and strength. At a time when we are all concerned with the course of the pandemic, our common enemy, we can take heed of God’s message.
On a more personal level, I have always interpreted this passage much more intimately. Throughout my life, when I recite “Be still and know that I am God,” I internalize it and feel like God is speaking directly to me. As if God is telling me to stop worrying, to be quiet, to rest in the confidence of knowing that He is in control. While this reassurance has helped me face life’s challenges, it has never been a more positive force than it has been during this past year. I have been concerned as we all have been with the pandemic and the health of our loved ones; my daughter-in-law, a nurse at Mass General, carried our first grandchild this year, as she continued to work in a hospital battling COVID-19. While none of us know what tomorrow holds, we all can take comfort in knowing that God is always with us.
As we begin a new year, many of us will resurrect our familiar resolutions to get in shape, finish those home projects, pay off our debts or spend more time with family. While these goals are laudable, the one that will truly affect us the most throughout the new year would be to come into a closer relationship with God. To find the time to be still with Him and pray with Him. If we let Him, when we pray, He will speak back to us. God is always listening to us and ready for a visit.
From the perspective of my job as director of the Annual Catholic Appeal, I look back at 2020 remembering times when I brought my concern for our ministries and the people they served to God in prayer. I knew that the people in our diocese were extremely generous but that many were facing very difficult challenges. I also knew our ministries were helping many more people during this pandemic than in prior years, providing food, clothing, help with housing and basic needs, as well as spiritual support, guidance, ministry to the sick, faith formation and education of young and old alike.
We worked as hard as we could in our department and so many of you rose to the challenge and donated your hard-earned money to the ACA in order to help your neighbors and friends. I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and sacrifice. Currently, at the writing of this column, we have reached approximately 87% of our goal, nearing $2.4 million dollars in gifts and pledges. With God’s help, we truly came together as “One Faith, One Family.”
While we look ahead to our 2021 Annual Catholic Appeal which we will launch in March, we hope that you will see fit to renew your generous commitment to the ACA. In the meantime, if you have not completed your pledge payments, you may contact Heather Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 886-1928 to do so. Thank you and may God continue to keep you safe and bless you in 2021.
By Mary Ellen Mahoney