Have you ever felt like giving up? In 1929 when the stock market crashed and world-wide depression started, some executives felt that there was no hope. They lost everything. Some HPES (High Power Executives) jumped from skyscrapers, figuring they could never live without their piled-up wealth to support them. They forgot the principle that what goes down must come up. (Have you heard the saying what goes up must come down? Well, what goes up and never goes down? Answer: Your age!)
I could never get so depressed that I would do something similar, like the HPES did. Besides, I live on the ground floor. It wouldn’t be much of a fall, just a little thump. I wouldn’t break a bone, just pop a lens out of my glasses.
So, have you ever felt like giving up? Are you like Rodney Dangerfield? “Last week I told my psychiatrist, ‘I keep thinking about suicide.’ He told me from now on I have to pay in advance.”
Perhaps the crosses you bear involve the realization that you’ve run out of money, your health is failing and you wish you were home. You feel like you don’t have many friends.
Now is the time to read the letter of St. Paul to the Romans, chapter 8. St. Paul said, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Have you ever been falsely accused? If you are a child of God, you are under God’s protection. We hear, ‘Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?’ It is God who acquits.”
What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or the sword? Do you feel alone? Not if you read St. Paul’s words to the Romans, chapter 8. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Yet, some people are sure they are doomed. When a man knows he’s going to die in the morning, it tends to concentrate his thoughts wonderfully well. Perhaps you believe that we are in command over decisions like death and when to die. Just like Andy Dufresne said so brilliantly in the epic movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” we feel that we should “Get busy living or get busy dying.” That leaves God out of the picture.
Let a portion of Preface IV for the Dead guide us:
“For it is at your summons that we come to birth, by your will that we are governed, and at your command that we return, on account of sin, to that earth from which we came. And when you give the sign, we who have been redeemed by the Death of your Son, shall be raised up to the glory of his Resurrection. Amen.”
So, if the stock market crashes, and its value falls suddenly, read Psalm 121 and stay away from sky scrapers. He will not allow your foot to slip or your guardian to sleep. The Lord will guard you from all evil; he will guard your soul. The Lord will guard your coming and going both now and forever.
Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.