Austria Adventures: Living in the sunshine


Hello from America!

Seriously, I’m writing this on a couch in Florida. My flight across the pond doesn’t leave until tomorrow afternoon, so there shall be no logging of overwhelming Austria moments just yet. In the meantime: a reflection.

Descending into Florida provided me with an aha moment. As the plane turned towards the runway, sea met sky in a dance of blues and greens, with white clouds and sea foam complimenting their every move.

I was struck by the clear waters and brilliant sunshine that had seemed distant over the whole of winter break and was reminded of how the sunshine, or lack thereof, can really affect our moods.

For many, it’s easiest to find happiness in the summer sun and beautiful, blooming springs. In the midst of near-zero weather, however, we can forget that the warm summer sun we know and love is still burning.

The sun is still there in the winter – in the blue light that drapes over the daytime, in the biting wind that creeps under our scarves, and even behind the flurries that make the proximity of our 21 new printers so appreciated.

But when it’s so cold that you can’t feel your face, you may want to shake your frozen fist at the ball fire in the sky that, despite being thousands of degrees hot, doesn’t seem to make a lick of difference as you trudge to your next class.

In the same way, we may be tempted to shake our fist at God, who we know is there but can’t feel.

Maybe we’re not always “in the mood” to go back to school after break. Maybe we’re not “in the mood” to crank out another draft of an essay or read from our Bibles. Maybe we’re not “in the mood” to crack down on our prayer life.

But the reality is we have to, because otherwise we’ll freeze. And we’ve all heard that freezing to death is one of the most comfortable ways to die.

So how do we keep moving? Paragraph 1803 of the Catechism says, “A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.”

And in James 2:26: “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.”

Don’t let your faith die. While you may not be able to feel the sun’s warmth, be reminded that a living faith’s purpose is so much greater. Living our faith isn’t about keeping warm in the winter while we wait for spring. Rather, it is about actively embracing the fact that the sun burns a million miles away and gives us life.

The flaming ball of hydrogen and helium is still in the sky. The incarnate Son of God never leaves. So, while winters can be piercing cold, the sun still keeps us alive. How can you embrace the Son in a new way?