by Vicky Otto, Companion Director

If you ask people who know me, I hope they would describe me as a “glass half full” kind of person. I try to see the brighter side of life, be grateful for all that I have been given and focus more on the positive perspective of things. It is hard these days to be the “glass half full” person. We are living during a global pandemic. There is violence on our streets. Wildfires are burning throughout California and other parts of the world; many people have lost their homes due to flooding from recent hurricanes. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and even their homes due to the economic downturn. Many farmers have lost their crops because of the derecho storms, and yes, there have even been reports of locust storms in India. Amid all of this, we are in the midst of a political election that at best could be described as contentious, drawing in even religious leaders to make accusations that unless you vote one way, you are not a good Catholic.  If you feel like it is all too much, you are not alone.

A few weeks ago, one of the readings at Mass reminded me of how to stay true to who I am during these turbulent times. In the Book of Kings, we heard of how Elijah found the Lord, not amongst the chaos of the various storms that he experienced, but a tiny whispering sound. Have you heard the whispering sounds?  I have when I heard the story about the three-year-old girl who, with just a little help from adults, backed 1000 cookies for the essential workers in her city. Or the couple whose wedding reception was canceled due to the pandemic who not only took the catered food to a homeless shelter but served their new guests in their wedding attire. I also heard the whispering in the story of a nine-year-old boy who was recently adopted, who is on a mission to care for every elderly or sick dog that has little hope for being adopted. He said, “I know how it feels not to be loved or cared for, and I don’t want any animal of mine to feel that way.” I  heard it loud and clear in a national movement called “Freedges.” Food pantries, restaurants, and cafes around the country are putting out refrigerators outside the doors of their establishments and filling them with healthy vegetables, fruits, and other food that is free for anyone who needs it. The organizers said that they wanted to provide a way for people who are struggling to get what they need without fear of shame.

I’m sure there are thousands of stories just like these today in our country and in our world. They remind me that even among what many would consider the worst of time, there is still inherent good in the world. We have a choice today, to continue to bring forth the kingdom of God by acting upon those “whispers” that bring forth good in the world or becoming paralyzed in fear.  Fr. Jeff reminds us in a recent letter that Gaspar didn’t wait for peace to fulfill his calling to found our Congregation. As sons and daughters of Gaspar, we too must lead by faith, not fear. It is in that respect that we all must become “glass half full” children of God.

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