We can grow where we're planted.
We can bloom where we're planted.
We can thrive where we're planted.
God has placed you where you are right now for some specific reason.
-- SOURCE: "Best Lent Ever", 3/23/2019
You are exactly where God wants you to be. Don't fight it.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
With a keen eye, sometimes it seems as though everywhere you look, there are encouraging photos, scriptures, songs, or quotes. As you reflect on the following, share your thoughts in the Comments. What are you feeling? How has this current trial affected you? Changed you? Strengthened you?
"Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings." - 1 Peter 5:7-9
"Without the sacraments of the Church, primarily the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper as it is sometimes called, I certainly do not think that I could go on. I do not always approach it from need, or with joy and thanksgiving. After thirty-eight years of almost daily Communion, one can confess to a routine, but it is like a routine of taking daily food. But Jesus himself told us at that last supper, Do this in memory of me (Luke 22:19)…." - Servant of God Dorothy Day
"Almighty and eternal God, provident refuge in every danger, kindly turn your gaze toward us, who with faith implore you in tribulation, and grant eternal rest to the deceased, comfort to those who weep, health to the sick, peace to those who are dying, strength to healthcare providers, a spirit of wisdom to civil authorities, and a heart to draw near to everyone with love so that together we might glorify your holy name." - Opening Prayer from the Votive Mass in Time of Pandemic
"Despite the strains and stresses we have felt as a nation, and the long road that lies ahead, we remain confident in Christ’s final victory over sin and death. Illness, poverty, conflict, and death cannot triumph over Christ’s love and grace. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)." - Fr. Sebastian White, O.P., MAGNIFICAT
"Each one of us can say: 'I hope, because God is beside me.'" - Pope Francis
"Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o’er me,
Where the dark clouds have been."
- In Heavenly Love Abiding by Anna L. Waring (published 1850)
"Death is not the end. We were made for life. We were made for joy. Death brings the fulfillment of that life and joy, but we can live in it now. Even in the midst of grief. Even in the midst of plagues and poverty and confusion. If we are in Christ, we have nothing to fear from the terrors of the world. They cannot kill the life inside us." - Dr. Scott Hahn
"Never permit me to be separated from You." - from an Act of Spiritual Communion by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri
As the sun sets on another day, I ponder the trials of today for me, for our country, and for our world in these uncertain pandemic times. I dream of a better tomorrow, and I am certain that You will be there then as You are there now.
I am one with You and You are one with me. You will never separate from me, and You will never permit me to be separated from You. We are inseparable.
Thank you, Jesus, for reaching out to me during those times when I failed to reach out to You. Thank you for showing me Your beauty and Your love. Thank you for life and learning, for fears and mercy, for hardships and joys.
Thank you, Jesus, for bending Your ear to me during those times when I reached out to You. Thank you for seeing my tears and my love. Thank you for listening and sharing, for helping and caring, for being my shining light.
Thank you, my Jesus. I love You above all things.
This Holy Week isn’t what we expected. It’s not what we wanted. It’s missing so many of the things — and people — we love. But if God has permitted it, it means he can use it to bring about an even greater good. If he did that with the first Holy Week — bringing the greatest imaginable good out of the greatest imaginable evil — then he can do that with this Holy Week, too.
That makes being alive during this particular Holy Week a privilege. It makes it a gift — to be able to enter into the spirit of Holy Week, to live it in a way we never have before, but knowing all the while that this week will eventually end and Easter morning will dawn. That is God’s promise. That is our hope. That is our Holy Week forecast.
We’re called to trust where God is taking us even if we’re scared and don’t know where we’re going. As Catholics, we turn to God in times of fear and uncertainty as we do in times of joy and celebration. Let’s join together as we pray for God’s heart of love, mercy, and truth to dwell in us and show us how to face the challenges posed by the new coronavirus.
Pray for people who are infected with COVID-19 or facing quarantine.
Jesus, during Your ministry on Earth You showed Your power and caring by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Be present now to people who need Your loving touch because of COVID-19. May they feel Your power of healing through the care of doctors and nurses.
Take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine. Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing health and protecting others from exposure to the disease. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. —Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Pray for people at higher risk of developing the disease.
Dear Lord, we lift to You our concern for people who are more likely than others to become severely ill from COVID-19 — the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. Protect them from harm and be their comfort in this time of uncertainty and, for many, preventive isolation from loved ones.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. —1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Pray for medical professionals, caregivers, and researchers responsible for fighting the new coronavirus.
God, as more people get sick, healthcare workers and first responders are working longer hours with fewer supplies and with more risk of contracting the new coronavirus themselves. Renew their energy and sustain them on long shifts. Bring Your protection upon them as they work with patients. Multiply their supplies so they have the protective items needed to stay safe on the job.
Inspire and invigorate the research doctors developing better tests to diagnose the virus, create vaccines to prevent it, and identify protocols to eliminate the disease’s spread.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”. —Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
Pray for leaders responsible for making decisions about the new coronavirus.
Father, we seek Your wisdom daily. Be with people making decisions that affect the lives and futures of our families, communities, countries, and the wider world. We pray that they communicate clearly, truthfully, and calmly — with each other and with the public — and that their messages are received and heeded. May truth and empathy be the touchstones of people setting policies for our protection.
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers …”—2 Corinthians 1:10-11 (NIV)
Pray for business owners and families facing financial stress.
Jesus, we thank You for Your faithfulness in how you have guided and equipped people in their jobs and have provided in the past. It can be scary and overwhelming not knowing how bills and obligations will be met or to not be able to provide for families. As people feel financial strain during the uncertainty, bring them comfort and peace, reminding them that You are there for them. Provide for them in their times of need.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. —John 14:27 (NIV)
Pray for grocery store workers and delivery drivers.
Lord, we are so grateful for all the people who continue to work each day so that people are able to eat. We ask that You bless and protect them as they serve. Give them grace to handle disgruntled customers during supplies shortages. Keep their bodies healthy as they unload and stock boxes of supplies. Keep their cars and trucks running smoothly as they deliver needed supplies and food people have ordered online. And please protect them all from contracting the new coronavirus.
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”. —Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
Pray for the disease to stop spreading.
Almighty God, we know that everything is in Your sovereign control. We ask that You keep this new coronavirus from continuing to spread. Give government officials the ability to safely handle people arriving from other countries. Help people decide to stay home instead of traveling or going out needlessly. Holy Spirit, remind people to wash their hands properly. And while it may be heartbreaking, comfort families as they decide to keep their distance from elderly or other high-risk family members.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea …” —Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV)
Photo by Anuja Mary Tilj on Unsplash
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Attributed to Mark Twain
We are all fools on our own, especially when we try to manage our own lives. Those are the times when we open our mouths and quickly become gullible to displaying our own foolishness.
But when we pause, turn to the Lord, and seek his help and guidance, our works are in tandem with His. Our foolishness does not prevail.
Lord, let me turn to you to save me from myself. Amen.
“Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”
Some people may remember a song that was popular almost 50 years ago. In 1971, a group from Canada called the Five Man Electrical Band had a hit called "Signs". The song is about how signs are always telling us what to do, and the chorus says, “Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”
Almost five decades later, the question it poses — “Can’t you read the sign?” — is one we might ask ourselves today. We are going to be signed with ash in the sign of our Faith, the cross. “Can’t you read the sign?”
The cross of ashes means that we are making a commitment — that we are undertaking Lent as a season of prayer and penitence, of dying to ourselves. It also describes our human condition: it says that we are broken and need repair; that we are sinners and need redemption. Most importantly, it tells us that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to carry our crosses. It also reminds us that we are dust and ashes — mortal human beings carrying an immortal soul.
By receiving the ashes, we confess that we are sinners in need of the mercy of God, and we ask forgiveness for the various ways in which we have hurt our brothers and sisters. Lent is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation. Let us allow the spirit of forgiveness to work its healing influence in our parishes and families.
Merciful Jesus, lead me into this season of Lent with a heart enlarged for prayer and penitence. Help me to “read the sign” and re-commit to my commitment to You. Amen.
"Jesus answered [him], 'You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above.'" - John 19:11
We have heard a lot over the past weeks and months about an "abuse of power." While the power of government leaders throughout the world is worthy of wisdom and direction, our ultimate power is from above as Jesus tells those desiring to decide his fate.
May we commit to never abuse the power of God, and instead follow his wisdom and direction.
O King of Heaven and Earth, your almighty power is true. Amen.
"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." - a friend to Fr. A. Juguilon, OSC
You may be the brightest and most knowledgeable person in your field, in your workplace, or in your home. People may turn to you for advice and help. You may be able to recite every statistic from the latest baseball game, or document every step in a complex procedure.
But do you care? Do you show people that you care? Is your concern for others genuine and more noticeable than the actions you take or the words you speak?
O Lord of Mercy, help me to be like the Good Samaritan and show people I care. Amen.
"You may be the only gospel another person reads." - a familiar saying
Have you read a good book lately? Did you tell another person about the good book you read? Did you hear about the good book that someone else read?
Novels, short stories, science fiction, essays, biographies, romance, history. There are all kinds of books to read, from every genre and from every age.
But YOU may be the "book" that another person reads. You are the character, you are the story: the way you live and work and speak and love.
Are you a good read?
Father, write your story on the pages of my life so that others may see Your gospel through me. Amen.
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."