Dear Beloved in Christ,
God is with us! Today, in the reading from Genesis, we hear about Noah and his family entering the ark with the animals two by two. They found safe haven in the ark just before “the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the floodgates of heaven were opened.”
These present days feel very much like the beginning of a flood. Questions circulate in our heads: How long will this last? How bad will it get? Will I get sick? In other words: How high will the flood tides rise? We sense the waters rising and begin to fear.
The Church is called the Ark of Salvation. Just as Noah’s ark saved his family and all of the creatures with him from perishing in the flood, likewise the Church offers safe haven as we journey in this life toward eternal life.
Today we face the uncertainty of the spreading pandemic, yet we must remember that we are still within the Ark of Salvation. This is not to say that being within the Church offers us special protection from disease or any other misfortune or tribulation. (Indeed it does not guarantee any such protection.) And yet if we look closely at the lives of the saints, there appears to be a protective barrier surrounding them as they endure countless trials. They are at peace while the world around them swirls as in a tempest-tossed ocean. What is this protection? It is the embracing of God’s providence.
To be truly within the Ark of Salvation means to abandon ourselves to God’s will, to view EVERYTHING we experience in life as the work of a loving, merciful, and long-suffering God who desires our salvation. In the journey of this Ark, there are no accidents, no happenstance. Rather the Ark charts its unwavering course toward heaven, and all of our life’s experience—joys and sorrows, bounty and scarcity—point in a singular fashion toward eternity.
My brothers and sisters, as the flood waters of this present turmoil rise, let us remember that we are still in the Ark: God’s providence continues unhindered. Let us seek peace in whatever may come, knowing that He will guide us through.