Dear Friends in Christ,
Last Sunday, I made an appeal that during these times all of us should commit ourselves to pray for one another, stay calm and be positive. I would like to repeat that plea again. Several weeks ago, one of our long time and very dedicated parishioner passed away. I was blessed to be able to visit her shortly before her death. In our visit she told me how she and another neighbor, who was also a parishioner and now deceased, would pray for everyone on their street. These two wonderful women covered their neighborhood in prayer! They prayed for each individual family on the block on both sides of the street. She told me how they had prayed for their neighbors during Hurricane Harvey and afterwards. What a beautiful gift and Christian witnesses!
From time to time, (before COVID), I would ask that we turn around and introduce ourselves to one another at Mass. I would then ask that we remember to pray for those who sit next to us. As so many people have not yet returned to Mass, I am asking that you please remember to pray for each other daily. If you can, pray for each other by name. As it has now been several months since the onset of this crisis, I want to encourage you to reach out to each other. Check in on one another. Give a phone call, an e-mail, or if you can, drop by and say “Hello”. Our “church friends” should be our “best friends”.
While COVID is real and the physical suffering from the virus is serious for many, the amount of fear and anxiety in many instances has been more severe and more widespread than the virus. The level of anxiety and fear and the damage done by the reaction to the pandemic has been very serious. Everyone should be prudent and cautious in regards to our health and the wellbeing of others. At the same time, we should also strive to stay calm and peaceful. When people are afraid and anxious, our overreacting and becoming panicked does not help anyone. Constant chastisement and correction does not bring about positive results. Staying calm and measured helps everyone. As Catholics and faithful disciples of Jesus, we know that God is in control. When we find ourselves in frightening and challenging times such as these, we renew our trust in the Lord. We remember that ‘the Lord is our shepherd and we shall not want and we fear no harm for He is at our side’ (Ps 23). In times of trial, the answer is faith in God and prayer; not in worry, anxiety, judging or anger. Just as Jesus calmed the storm, He can calm our hearts and minds. All we have to do is turn to Jesus and place our cares with Him and allow Him to be our true and lasting peace.
We live in a time of red alerts, COVID case counts, government shutdowns, face coverings, bickering politicians, screaming headlines proclaiming doom and gloom, frequent washing of hands, breaking news every ninety seconds, social distancing, CDC Warnings, and so much more. It is enough to become either oppressed, overwhelmed or depressed! Turn off the TV and the media! Take care of your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health! Take a walk, laugh, smile, talk to a friend, pray a rosary, listen to some beautiful music, or sing a song out loud! Be Positive! There is more good stuff than bad stuff. God’s blessings have not been exhausted. Count your blessings! Look for the bright side and you will find it! Say something positive every time you hear something negative. Be the most positive person in the room. Bear wrongs patiently. Forgive others quickly. Let go of anger and resentments. Be generous in praise of others. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving – every day!
Remember the goodness of the Lord and tell others!
In pace Christi,