Daily Reflection:
Thursday, May 21, 2020
What are we all learning from this pandemic? How will we look at life differently? How will we live out our faith in new ways?
Parishioner, Sheila Murphy, offers some perspectives that can be of benefit to all of us.
Sheila, thank you for sharing!
--Fr. Mike
Three Things the Pandemic Has Given Me
Here we are going on the third month of these Safer-at-Home days. I’ve spent many hours walking and running the streets of our neighborhood near St. Thomas More Church. Engaging in exercise always seems to free my mind for some of my best heart-to-heart conversations with God.
Lately, I’ve been asking God to show me what good can come from this challenging time of the pandemic. Faithful God that he is, he answered my prayer by helping me see three things that the pandemic has given me: 1) time to nurture my relationship with God, 2) time to nurture my relationship with my spouse, and 3) time to reconcile my relationship with the world.
First, the pandemic has given me time to nurture my relationship with God in a way that I never would’ve devised on my own. In my separation from the Mass and the Eucharist, I feel an ever-growing ache and longing to connect with the Lord.
Each Sunday when my husband and I watch the STM Mass online, I pray with all my heart the Act of Spiritual Communion. The Lord answers by coming to me deep in my soul with such tenderness and peace. Never have I experienced a spiritual union with Jesus quite like this. I don’t believe I would have these experiences if not for the pandemic. It is a true grace for which I am ever grateful.
Second, the pandemic has given me time to nurture my relationship with my husband, Eddie. He is retired while my full-time job has now moved to our dining room table where I am working remotely until who-knows-when. This means we’ve been together pretty much 24/7. In our 23 years of marriage, we have never spent… SO… MUCH… TIME… TOGETHER…! Don’t get me wrong—this has been a good thing.
Like everyone else, we’ve been forced to ditch our “normal routine” and create a new “quaran-routine.” An important part of this is still making time for “date nights” even though we cannot go out. We enjoyed the Witness to Love BE LIGHT Date Night sessions a few weeks ago.
One session sparked an idea to shake up our nightly and well-rutted prayer routine. I realized we always pray for others—family, friends, co-workers—but very seldom would we pray out loud for each other . We do pray for one another, but mostly separately and silently on our own. Instead of keeping these prayers to ourselves, Eddie and I decided to start saying them out loud to each other .
Wow, I’ve been taken aback at how moving it is to hear my husband speak aloud his blessing prayer for me each night. And I hope he feels equally blessed when I pray aloud for him. This is yet another great gift God has given us by way of the pandemic. 
Finally, the pandemic has given me time to reconcile my relationship with the world. Pushing the pause button on life-as-we-knew-it has allowed this natural-born introvert some much-needed time to slow down and recharge her inner battery. 
An article I read recently said that while the extroverts and perfectionists of the world are struggling mightily with the quarantine, the introverts—in general—don’t mind it so much. True to form, I’ve been secretly relishing this time at home, having fewer worldly demands and less frequent social obligations.
As much as I’ve savored this slower quieter life, I am fully aware this is not my vocation. God did not call me to a cloistered life of quiet contemplation. Yet, as a Christian trying to live my faith in a diverse and increasingly secular culture, I struggle mightily.
So in these days of solitude, knowing I will have to venture out in the world in due time, I ask God, “What do you want from me out in the world?” I found one answer in the Scripture passage from 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.”
Despite the pandemic still menacing, I do feel hopeful. I believe Jesus calls me to trust now more than ever that he will see us all through this crisis and to boldly share with others the reason for my hope in the face of these uncertain times.
After much reflection, I share this with the world as the reason for my hope: Jesus is the path on which I walk, “the way,” he is my companion on the journey, “the truth,” and he is my final destination, “the life.” No matter if the journey that lies ahead brings joy or sorrow, my heart is not troubled, and I do not fear. I trust in the Lord as “the way and the truth and the life.” He is my path, my companion, and my destination.
--Sheila Murphy

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