Communion of Saints

This beautiful reflection is from Sister Margaret Carney, OSF who is one of my favorite people. She’s also the past president of St. Bonaventure University.

“These countless COVID-19 victims were not alone. In that final hour, the veil fell away and they moved forward surrounded by ancestors of their family and of their faith. God has wiped away their tears. Can this faith also help to dry ours?

— Margaret Carney, OSF

Those who have died from COVID-19 did not die alone.
— Read on

Exposing hypocrisy

John Pavlovitz writes with the passion of a prophet and the article shared on his Twitter feed this morning is spot on. He exposes the hypocrisy of those who call themselves “pro-life” while pissing on the rights of those who are trying desperately to avert the worst of this pandemic.

The Pandemic Mirror – Omega Center

I’ve been reading Sister Ilia Delio’s Memoir, Birth of a Dancing Star,  the last few days and in looking at her community blog for Omega Center I came upon this article called, The Pandemic Mirror. It’s an invitation to think differently about our lives and especially in light of the Corona virus.  I encourage you to read this essay and to give some thought to living in the moment. As she says, “eternity dwells in every breath.”

Source: The Pandemic Mirror – Omega Center

A Reflection for Holy Week

The last couple of years I have been privileged to spend the Triduum at Mt. Irenaeus living in community with the Friars and other guests as we celebrated the liturgy together. This year that will not be possible and that’s weighed on me. I will miss that very much. This morning I got an email message from Fr. Dan Riley, OFM who is the founder of the Franciscan Mountain Retreat and a good friend. Like everyone else Dan’s concern is for those who are working on the front lines, for those suffering, dying, losing loved ones and everything else that goes with this. This week is celebration of the passion like none in recent memory. I have spent more time praying this month than any month in recent memory. Sometimes I despair and wonder if my prayers benefit anyone or anything. Then I hear of advances and answers to prayers for others and I think maybe they are. I hope you enjoy Fr. Dan’s reflection.

Forgive them Father

Those are some of last words of Jesus as he was dying on the cross. Rather than condemn his torturers and murderers he forgave them. Gandhi also forgave the man who killed him. There are other stories like Maximilian Kolbe, Oscar Romero and others who spoke truth to power and willing gave their lives in the service of love. On this Sunday morning when normally I’d be on my way to Mass I thought of forgiveness.

I forgive those who have labeled this pandemic a hoax, I forgive those who have used the pandemic to fleece their customers. I forgive those whom I saw playing five on five basketball in the park after we were requested to keep our distance. I forgive those politicians who put party above the welfare of the world. I forgive those who have brutalized our mother earth that unleashed this pandemic. I forgive myself for judging others. I forgive myself for a lack of faith that there will be a positive outcome. I forgive our generation who has left this world a mess for our children and grandchildren.

Dare to dream big

It’s always darkest before the dawn. I’ve been very discouraged and dangling on the edge of depression that past couple of weeks. Why not? The world as we knew it appears to be disappearing before our eyes. Everywhere people are contracting the coronavirus. Many are dying and everyone who’s telling the truth is wondering if they’re next.

Earlier today I was watching Madam CJ Walker on Netflix which is riveting story of a woman who overcame incredible odds to become the first black woman millionaire in the United States. She dared to dream big. Watching the series in the midst of this pandemic invited me to do the same. Later this evening as I was listening to Bishop Barron’s homily on the Solemnity of the Annunciation he too invited us to dare to dream big.

Right now there is someone in our world who’s got the cure for the coronavirus in their mind. We are surrounded by brilliant minds and we’re connected across the cosmos. From this powerful connection will come a cure for this dilemma which we face. I’ve also been watching The Story of God with Morgan Freeman on Netflix. A common theme throughout the series is that there is a greater intelligence that rules the cosmos and since we all come from that source it follows that we already possess the knowledge to cure the pandemic.

Today as I walked and prayed I focused my thoughts on the cosmos and pictured holding the world in front of me. I believe in prayer as a positive energy and somewhere right now there is someone with the answer. We need to bring that solution into our consciousness and birth it. I thought of the words of the prophet Jeremiah.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

Jeremiah 29:11

Pope Francis asks us to pray for the world

Tomorrow Pope Francis invites us to pray for the world. I’m joining this effort and maybe you will too. There is no hope that without divine intervention millions will perish in this pandemic. Can a mass prayer avert catastrophe? Is it worth trying? I think so. The pope will be praying at noon at the Vatican. That’s 6:00 AM EDT. You can follow the Pope on Twitter.

Hail Mary

Most football fans know that a “Hail Mary” is a desperate pass to the endzone hoping that one of your receivers can catch the ball and get the win for your team. Earlier today my friend Brother Kevin Kriso, OFM sent me a text message that asked me to join millions of others around the world for a “Hail Mary” moment of prayer to relieve the Coronavirus pandemic. The message also asked me to pass the message on to then others and ask them to share it as well. I prayed a “Hail Mary” and passed on the message. As I walked today I continued to pray. I often pray when I walk and more often than not it’s the “Hail Mary.” It’s my go to prayer in almost any circumstance.

Is Mary listening? Is God listening? Is there a God? Does prayer work? Those are all valid questions and I hope that some prayers or positive energy can save the day. People around the globe are dying every day and in increasing numbers as this pandemic unleashes its fury. Prayer is really our only hope. What else can we do?

Prayer walking is a mindful meditation that stills my racing mind and keeps me from freaking out. Sometimes I say the Serenity Prayer when I walk. Mindful walking can center the mind and relieve stress. I’ve been walking mindfully for many years and frequently have my best thoughts while I’m striding along. You may not have a large area to walk in but you can still walk mindfully aware of what you are doing and focus your energy for good.

We were flying to the moon

Reading on the internet tonight led me to Ireland and Sister Maud Murphy, SSL who has written a timely poem about the Coronavirus. She’s hit the nail on the head. It’s a theme I have thought of often this week as I’ve listened to politicians posture about how this virus is the fault of a particular geographic area of our world. The virus comes not from a particular place but from a lifestyle of over consumption. Our failure to live simply so that others could simply live has caught up with us. Now we face a reckoning of our own creation. It’s payback time and as an old friend once said, “payback’s a bitch.”

We were warned by Rachel Carson nearly sixty years ago when she published “Silent Spring.” Al Gore published Inconvenient Truth in 2006 and it was dismissed as too political. Politicians and pundits laughed and said there was no way we could afford to change our ways. It was not economically feasible they said. In 2015 Pope Francis released Laudate Si and again the politicians and pundits dismissed it. It was economically not feasible and some said the pope should tend to matters of the church because the climate and the economy were not his business. Last year Greta Thunberg warned us just as the prophets of old that our time was running out. She was dismissed as all the prophets have always been. They said she was crazy. Some folks said that Greta had anger management issues. The Green New Deal was dismissed out of hand by those who worshipped the golden calf of the stock market and economy.

Now the planet has spoken and she has our attention. Sister Maud Murphy has written a poignant poem that captures the irony of our dilemma. The stock market is plummeting and the economy is tanking. We are forced to keep our distance from neighbors. Businesses are shuttered. Maybe there is a silver lining in Coronavirus. Maybe we’ll emerge transformed. Maybe.

We were flying to the Moon
We were finding life on Mars
We were dropping bombs with drones
We were getting bigger cars.
We were building finer homes
Flying out to warmer lands
We were busy buying clothes
We were brushing up our tans.
We were throwing out good food
While we watched the starving poor
We kept burning fossil fuels
And our air became less pure.
We were warned by our Pope
Need to mind our Common Home
Need to watch our Carbon Footprint
Try to save our world from doom. – Sister Maud Murphy, SSL

Read the entire poem here.

Care for our common home

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus I’ve been wondering about its connection to climate change. I hadn’t seen anything in the news at all about any connection. It was just one of my private thoughts until yesterday when I happened to be looking at TED talks. I just happened to select a talk given recently at Southern Methodist University by Alanna Shaikh . Until yesterday I’d never heard of her but what she shared in her twenty minute talk was absolutely breathtaking and confirmed for me that Covid-19 is indeed connected to how we have been taking care of our common home.

When Pope Francis and others have spoken about the need to address climate change and income inequality they’ve been shouted down by those who said we cannot afford the economic strain that such efforts would entail. It seems that Mother Earth is refuting that madness in a way that only she could. Reflecting on the words of Pope Francis its becoming clearer that we have sinned and that we are paying dearly for those sins.

“The earth now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. – Pope Francis

Laudato Si – May 24, 2015