Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: March 30, 2020

Usually I invite you to let the sacredness and beauty of Lent, found in the simply beauty of our parish, her grounds, our liturgies and reflection times, such as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or Stations of the Cross, or even our Lenten Focus (this year was the plight refugees crossing the sea in Lesvos, Greece to find shelter and safety) bring you a deeper experience of the suffering of Christ and Christians around the world. But that has mostly been taken away from us. We have, in a very real sense, been stripped naked and laid wide open to the world, but more so, and more deeply, to ourselves as we have all adjusted to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Yes, we have all had more time to be at home, isolated and alone, with our thoughts. We have had more time to be with family and let go of those who don’t live under our roof. We have let go of entertainment we so often take for granted like gyms, movie theatres, and dining out. We have had to let go of social activities like bars, game night, and just hanging out with friends. We have had to let go of going to church or worship services, at least in person. Yes, our lives have in a very real sense, been turned upside down and inside out. We have had to live with ourselves and our thoughts. For some of us, that is the most uncomfortable of all things. We are learning to love ourselves, let go of false and inaccurate criticisms  – self and worldly – and let go of that which we thought was important to find that ‘pearl of great price’ we had all along.

I wonder, if as we are in a forced game of solitaire, we might also revaluate that which we neglected? Will we use this time as a sort of chrysalis to rediscover self and let go of all things of ego?

Perhaps, God is more important than we thought now? Maybe Saint Miriam is really more a part of us than we had ever thought? Perhaps the dedication of our priests is now shining into areas of our lives before untouched? Perhaps our families and children will find us with a renewed sense of commitment and that love we thought lost for our spouses, will reemerge with a transformed vitality and hope?

St. Francis of Assisi willingly and intentionally abandoned a life of luxury for a life of faith. We have been forced, in many ways, to do the same now. He once said, “Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love.”

How about us? Will we finally love more? If you see someone in need, give them a good deed.

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