I recall the news of all restaurants being closed as of March 17th in many places. I can only imagine the stress and heartache of those businesses, not to mention the revellers who were planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with friends and family at eateries around the country. I was in transit when the news came, so I was not so much stressed but challenged as to how I would feed myself due to a medical condition that precludes eating most of the takeout fare. Then, I realized that this was an opportunity to be in communion with the millions of people around the world who have no access to regular meals, let alone meals at one’s fingertips. I drank a lot of steeped tea from an established chain, found a market where I could purchase fruit and a package of special crackers. God is good all the time. However, I still had that sinking feeling that while being somewhat empty of stomach and sick at heart, I know children and adults through no fault of their own endure hunger daily.
Members are now into the week of prayer for palliative care. This year it will be marked differently but still honoured. I will make my views known on the need for better services, pray for government leaders at all levels, and await the reports of how members have marked the week. A pandemic cannot stop service and advocacy.
As weeks have turn into months, separated from family and friends, I get joy from the little things that have always been the most important. Last week, I was moved to attempt new experiences. Using my husband as the test person and I the control person here at home, I made bread with my daughter and granddaughter in London. I was impressed by the seriousness of both adults and child. The next day, I made banana bread with my three grandchildren in Ottawa by video chat—one of the small blessings I never may have gained had we not been forced into this time of tribulation. Many people read to their children remotely, so I gave that a try also. One of the five-year-old twins had to explain how I should hold the book—there was not a peep, so it meant a little respite for now fulltime work-at-home parents who are trying to manage with three children. Now, I need to get to the cottage at some point so I may retrieve more books. Again, the little things mean so much.
I am blessed to be able to watch the daily mass with Cardinal Thomas Collins (Toronto), followed by the rosary, and follow Bishop Christian Riesbeck (Saint John), my local bishop. On Sundays, I watch VisionTV’s “Daily TV Mass,” but also read or listen to the homilies by Cardinal Collins, Bishop Riesbeck and Fr. Eric Tellez (St. Patrick’s Parish, Scottsdale). I have been reading scripture more regularly and ordering books. Bishop Robert Barron (Los Angeles) and Catholic speaker and author Matthew Kelly’s reflections are comforting and inspiring. If you have the opportunity to listen to Cardinal Collins on the first Sunday evening of each month lead Lectio Divina, it is a wonderfully reflective experience. I daresay you have many, many more favourite online spiritual experiences.
Who knows what tomorrow may bring, but with the consecration of all dioceses in North America to Our Lady, I can be at peace. Meanwhile, I stay connected with family, meet monthly with the League’s national administrative committee, take part in monthly implementation meetings, and listen in on many, many working group conference calls. A recent highlight for me was meeting virtually with all provincial presidents. You cannot imagine how enjoyable it was to “see” most of my provincial counterparts face to face. The year two working groups have received their orientation, and I am further excited to sit in on the first actual working session on the fourth. Two webinars have been most stimulating. My notebook “runneth over.” Technology has made it possible for the gift of work to continue. While we know not what God has in mind for the League in the immediate future, we have time to reflect on the important things of our lives and have confidence that God has a plan, and we are part of it. Christ is risen. Alleluia.
Until next time, be safe and God bless…