Journey together in truth and courage

We seem cast adrift in uncharted waters, encountering the unknown. We need to be exercise caution, but we also need to be people of hope, to be beacons of light in these dark times.  More than ever, we need to be kind, compassionate, empathetic and take direction from health authorities and government. We need to take courage and be courageous. The story of God’s people is one of being courageous in the face of adversity and challenge. As God tells Joshua in Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Challenges also provide unexpected opportunities. What great works of literature, great discoveries, great relationships, personal growth will begin when people are locked in, locked down and forced to connect with their immediate loved ones in a confined space.  What great spiritual enlightenment and growth will occur as we take the time to reflect and what great deeds of compassion and kindness will emerge from the well of human goodness? The ABC has already posted some good news

Bear Hunt Challenge

You may have seen the bear hunt challenge doing the rounds of social media – Bears go into hibernation. Their hibernation is a great lesson for us.

When bears go into hibernation, they do it for the health of their community and themselves. In the winter, food is scarce, hibernating allows other animals to have access to the limited resources. It slows the spread of disease and viruses among other animals during a season when immune systems are lowered, and energy is limited.

It is also a time of conserving health for the bear; in human terms a time for reflection… it is a time that allows us to renew, to undergo change, to honour your place in life and that’s what the Lenten journey is all about. Perhaps the global call for self-isolation is that still small voice challenging us to deepen our relationship with a loving God, to search for him in unexpected places, to find him in even more unexpected places.

It is not a time for anxiety or fear. When it is time for hibernation, a bear can finally relax. All the stress of finding food, territory, and a mate disappears. The bear believes that they have done enough and trust in themselves. They know this process is necessary and they will come out the other side renewed.

Be the bear. Stay home. Rest. Know you are doing this for something much bigger than yourself.

(Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10159492262954622&set=a.10151533468164622&type=3&theater&ifg=1)

Prayers and Reflections

I would like to share with you some inspirational prayers and reflections, to give you hope and comfort at this time. There are many beautiful prayers and poems – these are just some of my favourites. I have included links to others at the end of this article

Inspirational words are appearing to console and sustain us during these challenging times, such as this piece by Laura Kelly Fanucci:

“When this is over,

may we never again

take for granted

A handshake with a stranger

Full shelves at the store

Conversations with neighbours

A crowded theatre

Friday night out

The taste of communion

A routine checkup

The school rush each morning

Coffee with a friend

The stadium roaring

Each deep breath

A boring Tuesday

Life itself.

When this ends

may we find

that we have become

more like the people

we wanted to be

we were called to be

we hoped to be

and may we stay

that way — better

for each other

because of the worst.”

(Laura Kelly Fanucci: https://www.sunnyskyz.com/blog/3022/Woman-s-Poem-Is-Inspiring-Millions-During-This-Coronavirus-Pandemic)

 

A prayer for a pandemic by Dr. Cameron Wiggins Bellm

Prayer for a Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced

remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors

remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working

from home,

remember those who have no work.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our

children when their schools close,

remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips

remember those that have no place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the

tumult of the economic market,

remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home

remember those who have no home.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap

our arms around each other,

let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace

of God to our neighbors.

 

Finally, Father Richard Hendrick, Franciscan priest has attempted to bring calm in his reflection “Lockdown”

Lockdown

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square,

Sing.

March 13th 2020

WEBSITES TO INSPIRE AND INFORM YOU

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-03-25/german-cathedral-dusts-off-relics-of-st-corona-patron-of-epidemics Germany’s Aachen Cathedral – St Corona relics

https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-medical-ethics-of-the-coronavirus-crisis Medical Ethics and the Corona Virus

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/03/13/faith-time-coronavirus Faith in time of the Coronavirus by James Martin – Many things have been cancelled because of the coronavirus. Love is not one of them.

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/03/19/what-coronavirus-tells-us-about-trinity-and-ourselves?    What the coronavirus tells us about the trinity and ourselves

https://theconversation.com/plagues-follow-bad-leadership-in-ancient-greek-tales-133139? Plagues follow bad leadership

https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2020/03/12/pandemic-time-understanding-value-brotherhood-cardinal-turkson-says   Time for understanding the value of brotherhood

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-do-not-forget-the-poor-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-33794? Do not forget the poor

https://www.womansday.com/life/g25224950/healing-prayers/?slide=10  Healing prayers

 https://www.inspirational-prayers.com/prayer-in-times-of-crisis.html Prayers in times of crisis

https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/your-daily-prayer/a-prayer-for-times-of-crisis-your-daily-prayer-january-16-2018.html  Prayer for times of crisis

https://thejesuitpost.org/2020/03/wash-your-hands-and-fold-them-in-prayer-a-catholic-response-to-the-coronavirus/ Wash your hands and fold them in prayer

https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/prayers-in-times-of-crisis/in-times-of-natural-disaster.php

http://www.lynnungar.com/poems/the-last-good-days/ Beautiful poems by Lynn Ungar

https://www.janrichardson.com/ from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

https://johnodonohue.com/store  John O’Donohue

 

Anne Armstrong
Religious Education Coordinator

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