In Toronto we have been experiencing higher than normal temperatures with not very much rain. It looks like the end of August here, dry and parched around the edges, but we are only just coming to the end of July. The seeming lifelessness of our grass is a wonderful metaphor for life just now.
Many of us are cut off from friends and family and from the ordinary pleasures and routine activities of life. There is a sense of life being suspended and somehow disconnected. And yet if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us it is how connected we all are. The virus has spread because of those very connections and individual actions and, somewhat paradoxically, the only way we can help is through collective action. Everything we do, from mask wearing to handwashing to physical distancing, or just staying home altogether, we do as individuals for our collective benefit. Our actions affect one another, not just during the pandemic but at all times.
Physically we are more restricted than we have ever been but our lives in God are subject to no borders, no restrictions. Although our external ministries have come to a pause here at the convent we are still, of course, praying. We say in The Apostles’ Creed I believe in ‘the communion of saints’ and when I pray I think of all of the saints, past, present and future with whom I am in communion. Prayer functions as an unbroken chain around the world with prayer being offered up all over the world every hour, every minute, every second of the day or night. Before one person says Amen another one has already started praying. The prayers are layered over top of each other like some kind of geological formation. Where does one end and another begin?
I’ve always loved John chapter 15 and the image of Jesus as the vine and us as the branches. When I’m feeling seemingly lifeless its good to remember we are invited to, “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” In the care we show for one other, in our compliance with public health guidelines and our willingness to live sacrificially we signal to the world that we are abiding in the vine.
~~ Sr. Wendy Grace Greyling, n/ssjd