Finding God on Gannon’s campus Nathan Demarest discusses the importance of hope in today’s confused world

Gannon asked students about religous perspective and worldviews in a recent online survey.

Gannon asked students about religous perspective and worldviews in a recent online survey.

I’d like to ask you to participate in a little exercise. Imagine that you are taking a walk in the woods or in the park, and you bend down to look at the grass and leaves. Scoop up a handful of soil. Even if you’re germaphobic, do it anyway but wash your hands the next chance you get.
Can you imagine the life that is in that small pile of dirt?
It may be miniscule, but there is still life; bacteria so small that we can’t see them with the naked eye. Yet there is a whole world of life there. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Now picture this: what if someone or something came along and scooped up a giant-sized portion of earth? What if we were caught up in that pile and we were not even noticed until we were put under a microscope?
I guess I’m pretty much asking you to pretend that we are in Dr. Seuss’s book, “Horton Hears a Who!” We are like the Whos on the clover that Horton the elephant holds with his trunk.
What if our whole world that we know and have lived in was gone?
Instead of being blown away by a particularly strong gust of wind, what if gravity and planetary orbit just vanished? What if the universe that we know exists because of scientific exploration and discovery just ceased to exist? What if the sun didn’t rise tomorrow?
It would shake us to the core, but we expect it to rise. We know that it has risen every day for as long as we can remember. We have hope that our world will go on, unchanging for our life. It is trust, confidence, assurance— all based on hope.
What about those whose lives are changed in such a way that from one moment to another, a radical restructuring takes place and there is a void left in place of space? This could be due to fire, floods, earthquakes, famine, cancer, disease, violence, war or acts of brutality and terror.
We should consider ourselves blessed when we fall asleep at night; hopeful in a tomorrow where we are free, thanks to others who protect us. To all those who do not feel this hope, I am sorry. You are in my prayers. Hope will make tomorrow look a little brighter, even when we feel overwhelmed by what life throws our way.
There have been world events lately that have challenged our hope. Please pray for those affected by the acts of violence in Paris, Beirut and Syria. We may be on the other side of the world, and it may not seem relevant to us on Gannon’s campus, but it is. The people affected are members of our global family, and they need hope and love more than ever.
Just as the song is sung after every Mass at Mary, Seat of Wisdom chapel: “My love is stronger than your fear.” Please join me in solidarity for those suffering around the world.
“O God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”

 
NATHAN DEMAREST
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