Written by Deacon Jack Franchi,
Campus Deacon at Anna Maria College

I am sure you are all experiencing our changing times. It seems that no matter where we go or what we do, it all stems back to either the virus, racial tensions and/or protest marches.

That said, all these socio-economic and faith-based challenges are redefining life for us, not only as Americans and part of the world community, but some will argue, as Catholics. This pandemic has given us a “Dope Slap”. Because of this monster, we are waking up to a simple word called discipline; wash your hands (often), wear a mask, and practice social distancing. Four months ago, we had never heard of social distancing or imagined wearing a mask everywhere. If you walked into a bank wearing a mask you would garner some pretty scared looks and maybe even be arrested. The latter has brought us into what some are calling “The New Normal”.

While serving in the military, the one important word and lifestyle we learned inside and out was discipline. We ate, walked, talked and practiced discipline. Later when I was a team leader, a superintendent, I would impress upon my team the word discipline. We all knew what discipline was. We were, and in many cases still are a part of the discipline community. I would impress upon them that discipline takes on many faces. First, through disciplining one’s physical health by eating right, exercising, and taking care of your body. Second, through mental discipline by focusing on the core values of life, living, and not forgetting “the Mission”. Lastly, and I feel most importantly, through spiritual discipline by understanding the value of having a spiritual belief and never forgetting that we were brought into this world through the miracle of a higher being, namely God. Each one of us is a “one-of-a-kind” template of perfection created by God – and God doesn’t make mistakes. When we become Christians, we develop our faith over time and we do that through the wonderful gifts God gives us. Our faith starts out as a small flame and as practicing Catholics, that flame grows over time.

Faith is an important part of our lives. It has been around for a long time. This “New Normal” is society’s way of telling us that times are changing – monthly, daily, and by the hour. Through God’s help, we can adapt and handle those changes. But lest we forget, faith in God never changes. He is with us from “the rising of the sun to its setting” and through the evening, he watches over us.