Thursday, April 23, 2020

How can we use this time wisely?
PERHAPS the best use of time right now is, as Jesus said, to love one another.
In times like these, words like his come alive to us. Love requires more of us than we are want to give. Love often takes more from us than we expect. Love also heals something in us we often didn’t know was broken. For these reasons, we should practice love right now so that when there comes a time when it requires of us more than we want to give, we are ready to give more than is required and, at the same time, are ready to be healed in a place we didn’t know we needed. The best thing we can do right now is practice giving and receiving love.

In times of uncertainty we need a hope that is unshakeable. All the things we have been putting our hope in, be it a growing economy, longer life expectancy or increasing personal freedom and self-understanding, are suddenly revealed as a glass castle. What we need is an unshakable hope.
Surprisingly for some, this hope is offered to us in the person of Jesus. Even if one does not believe in Jesus, the message that God loves the world enough to send his only Son to conquer death and offer us eternal bodily existence in a world of love called Heaven suggests that, despite the worst of circumstances, our future is incredibly bright.
If we believe this message to be true, we have a hope greater than death. Jesus’ own hopeless life (he came to earth to die) offers us a death conquering hope. That is exactly what we need right now.
In this time of crisis, each of God’s people might ask themselves ‘how is God calling me to serve?’
There will be many tangible needs in our communities. Prior to this outbreak, loneliness and isolation were serious problems in our nation. Social distancing, so very important now, will exacerbate these feelings. As Christians, we need to reach out in tangible ways to let our neighbours know that they are not alone.
As you are able, consider how God might be calling you to listen to others or speak a comforting word to help provide food or necessities to those who are lacking, or to share other blessings with those who are struggling.
A phone call can be very encouraging to those who are isolated. Consider writing letters and placing them in your neighbour’s letterbox with your contact information. Encourage them to contact you if they need to anything; dropping off extra supplies to an elderly person can be done safely. God is calling his people to be a blessing and, most importantly, to provide hope to those who are fearful.
There will be many inconveniences, challenges and frustrations in times like these. God grant us a spirit to see these as avenues of service to others. God is at work in each of us. He is our refuge and strength … therefore we will not fear.
Pope Francis’ prayer This time
***O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign
of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the cross you participated in Jesus’ pain
with steadfast faith.
You, salvation of the Roman people, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself,
and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the cross to the joy of the Resurrection.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test
and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.***

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