Greetings to all and it is a blessing to sit down and write to you. It has been a year since I have written an article for The Catholic Review. It is a blessing and honor to write an article for Christmas this year. I have and you, too, have a lot to be thankful for because Jesus, the risen savior, is in charge. I titled this article “A Christmas and Easter Love”; I know Easter is a little ways off. However, you can not have the crown without the victory. Ask yourselves: Does Christmas and Easter only come once a year? The season of Advent urges us to be ever ready, not for the four weeks but all days of the year, and the season of Lent asks us to repent and follow Jesus. For me it means that I should have a Christmas and Easter love every day. To trust in the Lord in all that I do and try – and this is challenging – to imitate Christ daily, yes daily. My yearlong journey challenged my Christmas and Easter love.
I have had a year full of changes in my life, and with any change there is an adjustment period. However, by the grace of God, the intercessions of Mary our mother, Mother Lange, my family, church family and friends from around the world, I made it through a number of storms. Last December I had a routine operation to correct a neck and shoulder problem I have been experiencing for years. However, complications prolonged my stay in the hospital for 28 days. In these times and days of microwave medicine, I had to be in a terrible storm for a stay of that length. My father had a favorite song which he would play on our old record player. The song was sung by Roy Hamilton, a wonderful baritone who could woo anyone with his voice. When he sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” we all sang it with him and hummed it during good and not so good times. I really didn’t get the meaning of this song until later in life when I was writing a homily from Luke, when Jesus was asleep on the boat and the disciples were terrified by a storm that was raging. They felt that their Savior did not care, but you know the rest. I could just imagine if Jesus was like me; if they woke me up I would say, “Do you know who you are with?” Many times in my life, God may have asked me the same question
I am a witness that God is still in charge, as I was being tossed and blown about yet God was steadfast and faithful. He heard the prayers of his people and said to my storm, “Peace be still.” I had such a peaceful feeling and knew that all was well. I could feel the prayers of all of those who were praying for me – this gave me more and more faith that all is well, and I knew that I was not alone.
As we travel through this year of storms and challenges, with a new president and a country economically challenged, we must remember as the song tells us, “To walk on through the wind, walk on through the storm, though your dreams be tossed and turned, you will never walk alone. For at the end of the storm there is a golden light and the sweet, silver song of the lark. Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you will never walk alone.” So let’s all try to have Christmas and Easter love each and every day so that we can always have the risen and newborn Christ in our hearts.
Deacon Wardell Paul Barksdale ministers at St. Bernardine in Baltimore.