by Ken Rolheiser
Christian life in extraordinary times

The Italian family of Joe Fusco suffered extraordinary loss from Covid-19, starting in July 2020. Joe lost his mother, sister, two brothers and an aunt. Personal covid illness added to his suffering.

Joe is left with a deeper appreciation of life. “Be overly cautious,” Fusco says. “It can happen to you and the ones you love. Pray to whoever and whatever you pray to that what happened to my family doesn’t happen to you.”

In “Habits of an Extraordinary Christian Life” Deacon Greg Kandra celebrates the blessings that returned after the Covid-19 lock down. Being able to go to Mass, to church, was one unexpected blessing . How wonderful to be able to return to the extraordinary blessings of what was formerly ordinary times.

In his article Kandra speaks about five ordinary habits that ultimately make us extraordinary Christians. The first is the Habit of Prayer. Prayer adds grace to the start, the end, and the entire day. Prayer makes praise, wonder, and hope possible. 

The Habit of Gratitude follows Prayer. We close our day with thanks. During the day, hopefully, we pause occasionally and say, “thank you God”. A little sign of the Cross punctuates this moment shared with God when we truly notice the blessings in our lives.

The Habit of Attention we pay to those around us is central to a Christian life. We hear the call of those in need, near or far. We notice our part in safeguarding creation and the environment. And we lead a life of service where we are needed and called.

The Habit of Forgiveness is what keeps us free as Christians. “Seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:22) is asking a lot when it comes to forgiving our spouse, our neighbor or our enemies. The Lord’s Prayer gives us the assurance that God will forgive us as we forgive others.

The Habit of Hope follows the Prayer, Gratitude, Attention, and Forgiveness Habits. As Christians we have a future that is bright. Our life will not be empty and overwhelm us if we follow Jesus. Christ promises us an extraordinary life.

“Whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25). And Jesus promises, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37).

The reward for following Jesus is great: “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age … and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29–30).

“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14–15). 

Following the commands of Jesus will have rewards: “The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:21).

If you obey Christ’s commands and remain in his love, “your joy will be complete.” (John 15:11). But it may not be without cost: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12).

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