May Issue of Reflections and Connections
This letter appears in the May Issue of Reflections and Connections.
The late winter and early spring of 2020 has all of us traversing previously uncharted waters as we struggle to find ways to stay connected and safe during the COVID-19 global pandemic. A recent article from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious calls us to pray for the whole earth community. Elise García, OP writes,
How might our prayers and intentions be joined across congregations for the common good of the whole Earth community to help lift the spirits of a people, especially in the wake of closed churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship? What would happen if elder Catholic sisters ... were to unleash the power of their lifetime of prayer and contemplative practice to hold the safety and protection of all peoples across the world as a sacred intention?" -- from "A Call to Spiritual Bonding."
We are in times that require us to dig deep and find spiritual, psychological and social resources that barely skim the surface of our consciousness in “ordinary time.” Our faith tells us that when challenged with difficulties, grace abounds more. Though there may be challenges, the graces often come in unexpected ways: a robin singing outside our window, an unexpected call from a “forgotten” friend, a poignant memory, an exhilarating walk, or a smile from someone I have never met. At a time when we are asked to practice social distancing, we must find new ways to stay connected. In the dailiness of life we begin to recognize the importance of every minute and each encounter.
The uncharted waters we experience make us aware of the preciousness of the gift of life and of our relationships. Parker Palmer speaks of the importance of embracing everything – what we got right and what we got wrong – as we make our way without the usual “maps.” In a recent book, he quotes Florida Scott-Maxwell, an elderly psychologist: “You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done . . . you are fierce with reality.” In these days, so fierce with reality, let us live the mission to respond in our own times to those whose faith life or human dignity is threatened.
In the peace and love of Christ,
Sister Jean Steffes, CSA