I believe we would all agree that we are certainly living through some pretty dark times, probably the darkest period of history that most of us have experienced in our lives thus far. The coronavirus has brought us to a surrender position whether we liked it or not! The question is what do we do in these times to survive; to survive the dark and enter into the light?
We “poke holes in the darkness!”
“What does that mean?” You may be asking. Well, I will have to take you back to 2010, when my husband and I took a three week road trip down the East Coast heading south. One of the stops was at Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Network (EWTN) and Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in the heart of Alabama.
Father Joseph Mary Delivers
We were blessed to have Father Joseph Mary Wolfe celebrate Mass for us that Sunday, April 25, 2010! It was so exciting to see this Franciscan up close and personal rather than watching him from afar on television for the 8:00 am Mass back home. When we walked through the chapel doors of Our Lady of the Angels, we found that the handles were angels welcoming us and high on the altar were more angels adoring. It was a complete joy to absorb all of this beauty! Fr. Joseph chanted the Gospel for the day and I remember being so moved. The Gospel that day was from John:10, one that we are all so familiar with, “My sheep hear My voice, I know them and they follow me. . .”
Fr. Joseph Mary went on to say, “Jesus is the true Shepherd and He does not leave us orphans.” No! He does not! Not even in these times of darkness.
In his homily that day, this special Franciscan, painted a visual story as he laid out the following scene for those of use blessed to be sitting in the pew. It was of a little boy watching out his bedroom window of the enveloping darkness bringing a close to the light of his day:
As this young child gazed out his window, he began to see light opening up holes in the darkness. He suddenly saw a man coming into full view carrying a lighted torch and illuminating all around him. What was he going to do with the torch thought the boy? Was he just lighting his own path in the darkness? No! He was about to light each and every gaslight lamp along the way for those who would encounter the darkness of the night. Instead they now have these shining gaslights to bring them safely to their destinations.
Yes, this man was “poking holes in the darkness”
He was poking holes in the darkness not only for himself but for others as he was lighting their way.
As Father Joseph Mary continued with his homily, he added that we all can be shepherds to lead others to light and poke holes in the darkness with our shepherd hooks.
A Shepherd’s Hook Pokes Big Holes
Right off the bat, I thought of a few shepherds who did not remain silent during these blackouts that we seem to be facing and with their shepherd hooks they have lit the gaslights of our enveloping darkness.
I would have to bring to light Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone of San Francisco.
Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone
Archbishop Cordileone spoke this message to the people regarding the “non-essential” worshipping in San Francisco:
“For months I have pleaded with the City on your behalf, advocating for your need of the consolation of the Mass, and the consolation you derive from the practice of your faith and connection with your faith community.
City Hall ignored us. City Hall ignored you. They didn’t deny it, but they simply ignored you.”
So what did this Good Shepherd do? He organized three Eucharistic processions originating at Catholic parishes throughout the city that converged at City Hall as peaceful protestors participated in a “Free the Mass” event on a Sunday. From there, the protestors marched to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, where outdoor Mass was led by the Archbishop.
He spoke the following words to the crowds:
“We’re very tired of being discriminated against because we’ve proven scientifically we can worship safely inside the Church.”
The city’s worship restrictions allowed only one person at a time to enter a church for prayer while limiting attendance at “outdoor worship services” to 50 people.
As a result of Archbishop Cordileone, a petition, surpassing 35,000 signatures, to “lift unfair restrictions on the Mass” was presented to the mayor.
Mayor London Breed saw the “light,” and the brightness of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s gaslight opened up huge holes in the darkness of discrimination. On September 30th , the mayor increased the number to 25% capacity or up to 100 people in places of worship indoors.
The Good Shepherd thanked Mayor Breed for recognizing that “faith is essential.”
A little footnote to this story is that indoor shopping centers and malls could operate in San Francisco up to 50% capacity, a lesser restriction than above, but all in all, it was Huge Win for Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone who chose not to stay silent and let the darkness further descend upon his flock.
Go Make a Difference
We are called to make a difference right now! Archbishop Cordileone surely defined this phrase. He made a difference not only in our lives but in the lives of countless others who were denied the right to worship their God, especially in horrific and difficult times such as now.
Archbishop Cordileone is our first “Shepherd’s Hook” designee. He definitely poked more than one hole! He made a “cavern of light” appear like the sun rising in the early morning. He chose not to be silent. Golden words aren’t they? So we are called to Go Make a Difference!
Once before I highlighted the song written by Steve Angrisano, “Go Make a Difference” and I feel it timely once again to do the same. I leave you with a few lyrics of the song and I dedicate it to the Good Archbishop Cordileone! YOU MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
“We are the salt of the earth, called to let the people see. . .
The love of God in you and me!
We are the light of the world, not to be hidden but be seen!
Go make a difference in the world!
©2020 Anita Guariglia
Image of Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone/ Frances Peterson
All other images pinterest and instagram
Go Make a Difference /Steve Angrisano
Christian Post Reporter/Cordileone speech