Normally this time of the year we would be rushing to get in as much enjoyment of the last days of summer as we could. And busily getting ready for all the events that surround going back to school.
In the parish we would be preparing for Homecoming and fine tuning plans for programming and the numerous events that populate a normal schedule. This year of course is unlike any most of us have faced. All our planning has had to adapt to the new realities. And even those plans need to be flexible enough to adapt to ever changing realities.
There is anxiety about almost everything we undertake and confidence is constantly tested because we can take little for granted.
As with any crisis the pandemic is forcing many of us into situations we would not choose. How do we respond?
In his weekly Wednesday public address this week Pope Francis remarked: "The pandemic is a crisis. You don't come out of it the same – either better or worse, we must come out better" from the COVID-19 pandemic, the pope said.
How do we come out better? How do we help our world to come out of this stronger and more just? How do we not only survive but how can we find ways to flourish? And how do we make this better future a reality for all and not just for some?
One of the possible benefits of this time is a renewed awareness of what really matters. Maybe we could choose to realign our priorities. To focus on family and friends. To schedule activities that contribute and not just consume. To devote time to improving the lot of others and sharing our gifts and resources in ways that promote the kind of world we want to live in and leave to future generations. How do we come out of this crisis better?
Jesus said it succinctly: "What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?" He posed this question to his disciples before the crisis of his passion and death. That some met that crisis and stayed faithful gave birth to the Church we have inherited.
We invite you to take a few minutes if you find yourself alone or in prayer this week to attempt an answer to the question Jesus posed. Perhaps the following prayer from our Oratorian brother Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman might get you started.
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.
Fr. Mark Lane, C.O. and Fr. Michael Callaghan, C.O.