We greet you in the name of our Lord Christ Jesus.
May the light of the Holy Spirit of our Lord, the Lord of love, mercy, and compassion shine upon all of us and may He grant us the knowledge, patience and wisdom to understand the richness of His teachings and missions which are intended to nurture our hearts and our lives.
Meditation for the Week of 15 March 2020.
God will not Abandon Us.
Without a doubt, this week has been extraordinary. I myself do not recall events taking over our thoughts and lives since 9/11; or even in a distant memory like the Polio epidemics in the 50’s.
We are living in a time when a dangerous and insidious disease is spreading and public and private events are being cancelled. As of this writing, the bishop of Richmond has closed schools and dispensed people at risk from their Sunday obligation and suspended public daily, Sunday, and Holy Day Masses Even Easter services are potentially affected.
Perhaps it is appropriate to take a step back during this time of “social distancing” to think and pray about what is really important. To use the Bishop’s imagery, Jesus took forty days in the desert to decide how He would conduct His public ministry. The desert has always been a Biblical place of reflection and reorientation . Forty days of social distancing sounds about right medically not withstanding our observance of Lent. Yet, we as Catholics naturally desire to gather together and where two or three, there too is Christ. Is it possible to join with Christ these days without community?
I believe it is very possible to encounter Jesus in the desert but it takes a different mentality, and possibly a little help from technology also. Most importantly, it is important to still honor the Sabbath, a day that should be more closely dedicated to contemplating Gods gifts and presence to us even beyond reading Scripture and physically being in a worship space. Mass on TV and on websites offers a disciplined time to stop and pray, it admittedly is not the same. Nevertheless, we can create our own worship spaces and practice the understanding that we are Church defined by more than four walls. We can join in prayer with all other citizens of the Earth in praying that this cup pass quickly. Our priests in their daily private celebration of Mass will be dedicating the power of all their collective Masses to the safe resolution of this crisis as well.
Let us indeed take this time to pray for the world, like never before. Numerous bishops in the U.S., ours included, have issued encouraging pastoral letters along with guidelines regarding liturgical changes. If you can, I suggest you search them out on the Internet. Bishop Gomez of LA, as president of the United States Bishop Conference, has offered an excellent note on the USCCB website (themed God has not abandoned us.) along with a very powerful prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. I have included it at the end of this meditation. This is a good prayer for us all to add to our daily prayers. Who better than Mary, the un-doer of knots to help us carry on?
I personally know the power of prayer. The community prayers for me this past year, I believe, not only medically helped me through my bout with Lymphoma but part of the overflow grace was the joy and affirmation of you all that I was in fact in your prayers. I have no doubt that a similar prayer effort will help support all those who are suffering physically and spiritually from Covid-19. I believe it will affirm the goodness of God to all, even to those simply burdened with the anxiety that comes with such monumental and earthshaking event.
We got through the Polio epidemic. We got through 9/11, and because God is good all the time, we will get through this. Thessalonians chapter 5 is a good reference of the positive spirit we all need, especially verses 16-17: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.”
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
God bless all, Stay well. Onward!