Tuesday, April 28, 2020

40 Days of Retreat - Profound thoughts from a wonderful Irish saint - Saint Ita

One day one of Saint Ita’s students ask her –
What three things most please God?

Her reply:

True faith in God with a pure heart
A simple life with a grateful spirit
Generosity inspired by charity

Then her student asked her –
What three things most displease God?

She responded:

A mouth that hates people
A heart harboring resentments
Confidence in wealth

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 30

Prayer for a Pandemic, Cameron Bellm | Amormeus
Prayer for a Pandemic - By Cameron Bellm

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.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 29

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 listened
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
More deeply
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.

Wow ... 1869 ... reprinted in 1919

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 28

Word Art Says So Much For The Holiday Season - Rejoice! Absolutely ...

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.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 27

We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, full of truth for every situation we face in life.

So as we face a world enduring quarantine, business closures and a fair amount of panic. 

God offers peace in the turmoil. 

The phrase - "do not be afraid" - is found more than 300 times ! in Scripture.

Jesus is described as the "Prince of Peace" for those who allow Him to reign over their lives.

St. Paul said the peace of God surpasses all understanding, and will guard your hearts and your minds.  (Philippians 4:7)

St Peter told us to - Cast all our anxiety on him because he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)

As Christians our call is to be Christ to others and bring peace. 

Today reach a hand out to someone you know is fearful.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 26

Faith in Quarantine: A Lesson from Noah | Air1 Worship Now


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!✨

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 25

Saint of the day: Bernadette Soubirous | Angelus News

Today is the

Feast of St. Bernadette

An ordinary girl who was called to be a saint for her generation.

How are you called to holiness in your family?

Meditate today on this simple video.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 24

Amazon.com: BZB Goods 4 Foot Tall Inflatable Party Cute Colorful ...

“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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Pope Francis: Unexpected first steps plot tenor of this papacy ...

Here is the prayer Pope Francis recited at a special Mass 
asking Mary to protect Italy and the world during of the coronavirus pandemic.

O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus' pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 22

A Prayer

Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages 
“curing every disease and illness.” 
At your command, the sick were made well. 
Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, 
that we may experience your healing love.

Heal those who are sick with the virus. 
May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fear, 
which prevents nations from working together 
and neighbors from helping one another.

Heal us from our pride, 
which can make us claim invulnerability 
to a disease that knows no borders.

Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

Be with those who have died from the virus. 
May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. 
As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. 
May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals 
who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. 
May they know your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations. 
Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern 
for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. 
Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions 
that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. 
May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, 
surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, 
Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. 
In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Jesus Christ, heal us.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 21 - Easter Sunday

Happy Easter everyone. He is Risen! I wish you all a blessed day ...

Romans 8:34-35,37-39 

”It is Christ Jesus who died and was raised who indeed intercedes for us. 
What will separate us from the love of Christ. 
Will anguish or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or the sword? 
in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly 
through him who loved us. 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, 
nor angels nor principalities 
nor present things nor future things, 
nor powers nor height nor depth or any other creature 
will be able to separate us from 
the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

And may the Risen Lord Jesus grant you peace, health and joy.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 20

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.
To Love.
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.
Today, breathe.
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,

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 19

Celebrating the Passion of the Lord | Thinking Faith: The online ...

For the disciples of Jesus,
before the great tragedy of Good Friday,
Jesus was the person
who gave meaning to their lives.
The disciples had pledged their lives to Jesus.
They had put their dreams in Jesus.
They had pinned their hopes on Jesus.
Then came Good Friday.
All those pledges, all those dreams,
all those hopes got smashed
into a million pieces.
With one terrible thrust of a soldier’s spear,
all those pledges, all those dreams,
all those hopes died on the cross with Jesus.
With one terrible thrust of a soldier’s spear,
their very lives died on the cross with Jesus.
When the sun went down on Good Friday,
they, too, were buried in the tomb with Jesus.
It was all over.

Then it happened!
As the sun rose on Easter Sunday morning,

Don’t despair Sunday is coming!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 18

You did something remarkable 
rising from supper
you discarded your garment.
A jug and bowl you took 
and to your waist a towel.

Kneeling, you a servant
washed the disciples feet,
dried them tenderly.
Peter, proud Peter, “No!
No, unless all of me!”

Don’t you still understand?
If I wash you not,
No part you have in me.

A strange stillness lingered in the air
Jesus said, “not all are clean.”
What did He mean?
Hadn’t He washed all of us?

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said,
“Do you know what I have done?”
I, your Master have washed your feet.
This is my example to you and all.
Blessed are the ones who do this.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 17

Edwina Gateley

Let Your God Love You

Be silent.
Be still.
Before your God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.

Let your God—
Love you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 16

       Gethsemane by Mary Oliver

The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.

Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.

The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move,

maybe,the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement, lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 15

"When this is over, may we never again take for granted

A handshake with a stranger

Full shelves at the store

Conversations with neighbors

A crowded theater

Friday night out

The taste of communion

A routine checkup

The school rush each morning

Coffee with a friend

The stadium roaring

Each deep breath

A boring Tuesday

Life itself.

When this ends

may we find

that we have become

more like the people

we wanted to be

we were called to be

we hoped to be

and may we stay

that way — better

for each other

because of the worst."

by Laura Kelly Fanucci

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 14

Family Worship Quick Tips
Palmless Sunday

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.

© Rob Esdaile

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 13

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.

Pray ...

Holy Spirit
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

Holy Spirit
Banish the Unholy Spirit
as real as you
but unwelcome.

You can quiet my qualms
Anxieties that dog my steps by day
Forebodings that haunt me by night

Holy Spirit
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


Friday, April 3, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 12

Today is Friday.  

Friday is the traditional day for the Stations of the Cross.  

This 17 minute video is powerful.  

As we begin Holy Week, Jesus' passion is on our hearts.

If this link is not working please post it to your browser to begin the video. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 11

Let us pray:

God of healing and mercy, 

we come before you with our hearts filled with grief 

as we see the devastation of the Covid 19 virus. 

We pray that your presence would be felt by those who are grieving, 

who are infected, who have lost their jobs and livelihoods. 

We pray for wisdom and safety for those who are responding to the people in need 

the first responders, the nurses and doctors and our president and his advisors.

Help them as they face down the many challenges left in the wake of this event. 

We pray for our church, that it may be a witness to your compassion and care 

for all who suffer. 

Lord we ask you to enlighten the researchers and laboratory workers seeking a cure.  

Please let them be successful in finding a medicine quickly. 

God, you are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. 

Lord we are desperate.  

Please answer our prayers quickly.

Prayer:  Let us offer this prayer or one of our own several times a day   Prayer works!

Action:  Reach out to someone you know is hurting.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Virus "Stay at Home" - 30 Day Retreat - Day 10

Shangrala's                                                          Wisdom Of                                                          Peanuts

So many of us, even those strong in faith, wonder how they can stop worrying.

While worry may be part of the human condition, it's important to hear what Jesus had to say about it in the Bible: 

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matt 6:34).

No matter how much we try, we can't control everything in our lives. With this virus we are fighting, many of us feel more out of control than ever. It's time to learn to trust God. 

When you wake up— and whenever you begin to worry during the day — stop for a moment and give your concerns to God. Consider adopting a short and simple prayer such as: "Lord, I abandon myself to your will." Or, "Jesus, I trust in You." As your trust and surrender grow, your worry will lessen.

My wife, Linda, has a great devotion to Padre Pio.  His most famous quote fits our current situation to a tee.  He said:  "Pray hope and don't worry."

More than ever now is a time to focus on excellent life skills. All of us need to focus on eating right, getting a little exercise like walking around the block, taking some time each day for reflection and prayer, getting plenty of sleep, nurturing our relationships via the phone, email, Facetime, or Zoom and maintaining regular rituals that help dissipate stress.  I am cleaning the garage and find it very therapeutic!  The closets are next.

Worry is ultimately about fear — the fear of what might happen. We all have fears, and sometimes they can hold us hostage to a future that doesn't exist — and may never exist. The best way to combat fear is to focus on its opposite — love. One way to flood your life with more love is to be more grateful. If you can't stop worrying about our current medical crisis, start listing all the things you're grateful for in the situation — the roof over your head, the food in your refrigerator,  loved ones who support you, your faith, time with family, etc.

Feel free to reachout to me if you need to chat.  deaconmike@saintbrigidparish.org. You are loved! 

Prayer:  Spend some time in a prayer of gratitude, thanking God for all the gifts in your life.

Action:   Call someone you know is worrying.