Theologian G.K. Chesterton asks us to consider how God might have created daisies. Did He create them all at once with one swoop of His mighty hand? Or did He create them one-by-one, expressing childlike delight in each new flower? "In the beginning," Chesterton suggests, "God may have created one daisy, and something within Him spontaneously whispered, 'Do it again!'" ... And daisy number two came into being. And once again God said, "Do it again!" And there was a third, and then a fourth, and then a fifth daisy. And so, He went on creating daisies. Until after a hundred billion trillion daisies, the great Almighty Creator who spun the galaxies into space and created all the animals, that same God is still creating daisies, and with childlike glee, still saying, "Do it again!"
Mother Teresa was once asked, how she was able to accomplish so much good work for the poor. “One by One,” she replied. Have you ever noticed how from seemingly insignificant beginnings movements can grow into a point of awe and wonder? That one by one, small steps can amount to spectacular outcomes?
That is how we will solve the racial crisis we are facing in this moment ...
We picked today as the start date because it is the feast day of Kateri Tekakwitha, informally known as Lily of the Mohawks. Born in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died, and her face was scarred. Which makes her the ideal patron saint for what we are all experiencing in our current pandemic.
As a native American affected by both an epidemic and discrimination, we seek her intercession in these challenging times. Kateri converted to Catholicism at age nineteen. Because of discrimination, she left her village and moved for the remaining five years of her life to the Jesuit mission south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River in Canada.
Upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that minutes later, her scars vanished, and her face appeared radiant and beautiful.
We start this novena with the prayer in our hearts that the coronavirus will not harm any of us or our family and friends. We are also praying that an effective vaccine is found soon.
We will pray the Rosary for 54 consecutive days without missing a day.
We pray in petition the first 27 days asking God to hear our prayers.
Then we will pray in thanksgiving the last 27 days for His answering our prayers.
These are incredibly challenging times. The senseless death of George Floyd has left me shaken, angry, and wondering how yet another black person in America could die in such circumstances. Not since the 1960s have racial and ethnic tensions been so intense. This moment we are in calls for soul-searching, discourse, and action. But what action will make a real difference is the big question.
If we truly desire to build a more equitable society, an important step is to make sure all children receive a good education regardless of where they live, their race or ethnicity, or their family income. Today, more than half the children attending U.S. public schools qualify for free and reduced-price lunch—the highest percentage ever recorded. The best way to end the cycle of poverty is a good education.
The reason I worked so hard to help bring a Cristo Rey High School to San Diego is because it exclusively serves families of limited economic means, and prepares students for the professional workforce. The school is committed to combating institutional racism to help students overcome poverty and prejudice. At Cristo Rey San Diego, 96% of registered students are students of color, with the average family income of $34,000.
It is essential that we remain people of faith, hope, and love. We must recommit ourselves to creating a society where everyone has the possibility of liberty, prosperity, and justice.
A few years ago, I prayed with a group of friends for 54 days seeking God’s guidance. Those prayers were answered in an impressive way. That success gave me a desire to pray another 54-Day Rosary Novena for God's protection for our community during this coronavirus outbreak, for healing of all who have been infected with coronavirus and for God to grant wisdom to scientists to find a cure for this deadly virus - quickly.
We will pray the Rosary for 54 consecutive days, without missing a day.
We pray in petition the first 27 days then in thanksgiving the last 27 days.
We have chosen a start date of July 14th because it is the feast day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, “The Lily of the Mohawks.” Kateri was a Native American woman born in New York. She seems the ideal person to call to mind as we launch this novena, we end on September 5 the feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta.
July 14 to August 9 – we offer our petitions to God.
August 10 to September 5 – we offer prayers of thanksgiving for God’s response.
“Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Our life consists not in the pursuit of material success but in the quest for worthy spiritual growth. Our entire earthly existence is but a transitional stage in the movement toward something higher, one rung of the ladder.
Lord Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages curing every disease. At your command, the sick were made well. O Lord, we need you to come to our aid now, in the midst of the coronavirus, that we may experience your love and healing power.
Protect us, our families and homes, our church and region, from this pestilence. Let the Angel of Death pass over our homes. We trust in your saving blood, your healing Word, and your Sovereign will. Heal all those who are sick. May they regain their health and strength.
Heal us from our carelessness, that we may be mindful of the most vulnerable among us. Good Lord, give us strength and courage in this time of uncertainty, sorrow, and opportunity. Show us when to go out, and when to stay in. Deliver us from fear, which hinders us from helping our neighbors. Show each of us how to serve our neighbors in this season, and give us courage to do so. Draw people to a saving knowledge of you.
Comfort and strengthen the families of those who are sick or have died. Defend them from illness and despair. Guide and protect doctors, nurses, researchers, and all who seek to heal and help, thereby putting themselves at risk. Guide the leaders of all nations. Give them foresight to act with wisdom and charity, for the well-being of the people they serve.
Help us to be aware of your presence, Lord, in our distress. Help us to trust in your purposes. Help us to pray with wisdom and power.
These are times that challenge us to be at peace. I found this poem today and it soothed my heart. When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. poet Wendell Berry
May we who are merely inconvenienced Remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors Remember those most vulnerable. May we who have the luxury of working from home Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent. May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close Remember those who have no options. May we who have to cancel our trips Remember those that have no safe place to go. May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market Remember those who have no margin at all. May we who settle in for a quarantine at home Remember those who have no home. As fear grips our country, let us choose love. During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.
History repeats itself.
This is a poem written
in 1869 and reprinted
in 1919 during the Spanish Flu Pandemic.
Written in 1869 by Kathleen O'Mara
And people stayed at home
And read books
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.
There will be gifts from this experience the challenge is to keep the right frame of mind. St. Paul wrote from jail to the people at Philippi, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice! Paul urges us, "Don't even be anxious about anything. Resort to prayer and supplication together with thanksgiving." Then he says, "When you do this, when you go within yourself, find God present in your deepest spirit, then the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keeps your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." In the midst of the difficulties of the world and we are living at a very difficult time, This is a very important message for us today.
The Latin root of the word "quarantine" is "forty".
So what does the Bible say about 40?
The flood lasted 40 days.
40 years Moses fled Egypt.
40 days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments.
Exodus lasted 40 years. Jesus fasted for 40 days. Lent is 40 days.
40 days for a woman to rest after giving birth.
A group of theologians thinks the number 40 represents "change”. It is the time of preparing a person, or people, to make a fundamental change.
Something will happen after these 40 days. Just believe and pray. Remember, whenever the number 40 appears in the Bible, there is a "change".
Please know that during this "quarantine" rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air is becoming cleaner because of less pollution, there is less theft and murder, healing is happening, and most importantly, people are turning to Christ. The Earth is at rest for the first time in many years and hearts are truly transforming.
So, during this time, enjoy it with your loved ones and return to the family altar together. Family prayer is a great blessing. Through prayer you will see the changes God can work in you and in your home. Christ promises us that everything works together for the good for those who love God: Romans 8:28!
Remember we are in the year 2020, and 20 + 20 = 40.
Also, 2020 is the year of the United States Census. Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, was born during a census.
Lastly, 2020 is perfect vision. May our sight focus on the Lord and living according to His perfect vision for us knowing He holds us in the palm of His hand.
May these days of "quarantine" bring spiritual liberation to our souls, our nation, and our world.
The best is yet to come.
Trust in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!✨
“How the Virus Stole Easter” – A Poem by Kristi Bothur
Inspired by Sr. Seuss!
Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.
People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.
As winter gave way to the promise of spring,
The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.
People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.
April approached and churches were closed.
“There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.
“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can’t go about.”
Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest.
The world was focused on masks and on tests.
“Easter can’t happen this year,” it proclaimed.
“Online and at home, it just won’t be the same.”
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went.
The virus pressed on; it just would not relent.
The world woke Sunday and nothing had changed.
The virus still menaced, the people, estranged.
“Pooh pooh to the saints,” the world was grumbling.
“They’re finding out now that no Easter is coming.
“They’re just waking up! We know just what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
And then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo.
“That noise,” said the world, “will be something to hear.”
So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear.
And it did hear a sound coming through all the skies.
It started down low, then it started to rise.
But the sound wasn’t depressed.
Why, this sound was triumphant!
It couldn’t be so!
But it grew with abundance!
The world stared around, popping its eyes.
Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise!
Every saint in every nation, the tall and the small,
Was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all!
It hadn’t stopped Easter from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine
Stood puzzling and puzzling.
“Just how can it be?”
“It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies,
It came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money.”
Then the world thought of something it hadn’t before.
“Maybe Easter,” it thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
And what happened then?
Well….the story’s not done.
What will YOU do?
Will you share with that one
Or two or more people needing hope in this night?
Will you share the source of your life in this fight?
The churches are empty – but so is the tomb,
And Jesus is victor over death, doom, and gloom.
So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer,
As the virus still rages all around, everywhere.
May the world see hope when it looks at God’s people.
May the world see the church is not a building or steeple.
May the world find Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection,
May the world find Joy in a time of dejection.
May 2020 be known as the year of survival,
But not only that –
Let it start a revival.
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighborhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Before your God.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.
We gather virtually these days, with virtual palms and virtual cries of praise. Virtual cloaks we scatter underfoot to greet the Son of David whom we long to meet.
Six feet wide (at least) the Covid social distancing that separates the would-be members of the crowd as we avoid quite gathering to greet him sanitised, clean-handed at the city gate.
But there is nothing virtual about the Prince of Peace, subverting all our violent dreams of glory with his choice of gentle cross-marked beast to humbly carry him to Zion for the Feast.
Nothing virtual either in the bonds that link us all today in honouring the ones who risk their lives to make us well; in worrying for the elders home alone; in understanding pressures hid behind closed doors.
Communion, then, is this: this web of praying, caring, picking up the phone, dropping round some food, sharing (at safe distance) smiles and tears, this swopping words of hope for fears.
This is what we celebrate on Sundays in more normal times. This is what our breaking bread and sharing cup proclaims: that the Easter Lord still comes to share our little feast, comes even through locked doors with words of peace.
Sometimes prayer seems the only response. I am feeling that way more and more as we live our sheltering experience. This prayer to the Holy Spirit filled me with peace today. I hope it does the same for you.
I'm not asking you to cause life or death to disappear
hardship or distress to vanish
persecution or peril to evaporate.
But you can settle fears within this soul of mine
this panicked heart
this anxious spirit
Banish the Unholy Spirit
as real as you
You can quiet my qualms
Anxieties that dog my steps by day
Forebodings that haunt me by night
I'm not asking you to cause death or life to disappear
But to hearten me with the love of Christ
with a love for Christ