This morning, I came out onto the back porch before anyone else was up. I sat in my rocker just talking to God enjoying the peace and quiet. Something came to my mind while I was praying. I asked the Lord if He wanted me to share it with you – and if He did, would He send me a cardinal to land in my tree? At that very moment one perched in my crab apple tree filled with pink blossoms and another landed on my birdfeeder to eat. I took that as a “go ahead.” Even now, five hours after that prayer, I’ve returned to the rocker on the porch to compose, and have been greeted by another beautiful cardinal.
I’ve always been a bit of an open book, perhaps sometimes sharing too much of myself. My hope has always been (in sharing so much) that my struggles and the miracles God has wrought in my life might inspire others to a deeper faith and trust in Him. So here goes…
First, I want to speak of that thing that came to my mind this morning before I forget. During this quarantine/shut down due to the C. virus (and perhaps other reasons as well), it has been so wonderful to see families out walking together, riding bikes, playing, etc. Many fathers and mothers are home getting to spend time with their children that they wouldn’t normally have had. What a blessing/silver lining! However, if we stop there, we are missing the other, even more important opportunity that God wants to bless us with during this time of isolation. What we need to do most right now is draw closer to the Lord with our families.
Now is the perfect time to go to that daily mass you always wished you could attend. It’s on television and on Youtube – not the same, but a start! Since we cannot receive Jesus in the Eucharist, you can make a spiritual communion. Do your children know what that is? Teach them. Perhaps you could say the Angelus at noon before lunch and a rosary in the evening or Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m., the hour of mercy. Read from your bibles together, or read the daily mass readings.
We may not be able to attend Mass and to receive Holy Communion right now. Your Archbishop (like mine) may have given all parishioners a dispensation from mass for a time, in an effort to keep this virus from spreading further. We have not, however, received a dispensation from daily prayer, instructing our children in the faith and keeping Holy the Lord’s Day. Taking a break from God during this time would be foolish, indeed.
It’s funny. I’ve been restless for the last couple of years, yearning for a more simple life – a deep desire to live how I believe God intended families to live – working together, praying together, supporting and helping each other and neighbors – eating more simply… One morning about 6 months ago, I was on my way to work praying out loud. At the end of my prayer, I said to God, “I believe you are calling us to live more simply. Am I hearing you correctly?” No answer – so after a pause of a few seconds, I made the sign of the cross and turned on the radio. A country artist immediately bellowed, “ S-I-M-P-L-E. It’s as simple as can be…” There was my answer.
I began daydreaming about moving out the country – into a little barren cottage, living mostly off of the land and spending my day in manual work and prayer. Clearly, that has not come to pass yet, however, we all find ourselves forced to live much more simply right now. It’s funny, I believe that God often gives me inspirations, so to speak, but they rarely play out the way that I envision. I believe that He has given us the gift of simple living right now, and we need to pray that we use it wisely, and learn from it what we must.
I’ll share one more word of wisdom I received several months ago. I was having a moment of self-pity/jealousy as I scrolled through Facebook at many of my friends on fabulous vacations. (I don’t begrudge them, by any means.) I asked the Lord why we could not take a vacation, even if a frugal one. (how I miss the Smoky Mountains!) These words came to me. “It’s not time for vacation but for reparation.” Wow. That put me in my place quickly.
There is indeed a tremendous amount of evil that we are living in the midst of in our world today. (But remember that wherever evil/sin abound, grace abounds all the more!) Many don’t want to know about it. Many make excuses for it. Many simple can’t think about it because it is too disturbing. I get it! As evil advances, we must fight through much prayer, fasting and sacrifices! We must care about the souls of our brothers and sisters in the world who are (seemingly) joyfully jumping head first into the fiery pit! Hell is forever, ya’ll! We need to pray for them and make reparation for them if they will not do it for themselves. We need to make reparation for our own sins. (Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind to learn what sins you may not be aware of that offend God the most.) For my protestant friends, I know that Jesus died for our sins in a once and for all sacrifice. I believe that when I am repentant that my sins are forgiven, but that there are still consequences/motives for my actions that need to be purified.
To recap, this is what I believe God is asking of us now:
*to remain faithful and steadfast
*to draw closer to Him through scripture and prayer – especially
the rosary (if you are Catholic)
*to live more simply
*to support each other
*to make reparation for our own sins & the grave sins of the
*to surrender and to trust Him completely to provide for us and
to protect us
Speaking of surrender, my family is going through a big test of trust right now – just like many of you are, I’m sure. We are physically fine – no worries. Perhaps, I can share more about this is the months to come. Suffice it to say for now, that as long as I stay close to the Lord in His Word and in prayer, and cling to Mother Mary (with my rosary in hand), I have total peace – and so should you!
It is my prayer that this time of testing and trial produce much good fruit in all our families, in our country and in our whole world!
P.S. I heard someone say something to me that made sense. It is suggested that we pray especially each day for those who die of the virus alone. Those who are succumbing to this are often dying in a room without family of friends, because it is highly contagious. May the angels and the Holy Family comfort them at the hour of death and lead their souls to eternal peace.