Arms Open Wide
A few thoughts as we approach the end of this Lenten season and sharing some helpful resources from Our Sunday Visitor
+JMJ+ Well, we've just about reached the end of the "Lentiest Lent" of most of our lifetimes and come to Holy Week, the holiest of all weeks. Suffice it to say, this Lent has been nothing short of unusual (that's putting it mildly). Many of us are coming into the Triduum with hopeful hearts but also hearts full of sorrow, anxiety, and fear. There have been a lot of changes in our lives over the past several weeks. Some of you may have been directly affected by this horrible virus, some indirectly. Many of us are struggling with the realities of isolating ourselves and our families from the rest of the world, including our parish families. We're hearing of pain and suffering all around the world and it's brought many of us to our knees (which is exactly where we should be). In times such as these we have a choice: turn to God or turn away from God. I pray that we choose God. However, at the same time, I pray that turning to God is a permanent choice and not one made in the panic of things, one that will gradually subside as things get better. So often we turn to God in desperation and then turn away as soon as the adrenaline rush has died down and we feel as though we're in control. We are fortunate that God's love for us is unwavering, steady, and unchanging. While from time to time we may be "fair weather friends," God always wants to be our best friend. If you look at the crucifix, you'll see the arms of Jesus spread out wide as He waits to embrace us no matter what we are going through, no matter where we're at in our faith lives. The cross reminds me that any inconveniences my family and I have faced during this time are nothing compared to what our Lord suffered out of love for us. Still, He sees and understands our pain. This too shall pass (now would be nice, right?). Jesus understands our human feelings, our needs and desires, our fears and anxieties. Our pain matters to Him. We need to hold onto hope - now more than ever! The good news is that our Lord isn't going anywhere and, even in the midst of all this change and chaos, His love, grace, mercy, and goodness remain ever constant. In the midst of the struggle, I'm sure many of you have seen many articles or social media posts offering suggestions on how to deal with this current crisis. I have certainly done a lot more reading as of late in an effort to help keep me (and my family) going but also to be inspired. We may be separated physically from our brothers and sisters in Christ but we are together in spirit. We remain always united in Christ no matter where we are, no matter what the circumstances. I'm going to post some helpful links at the end of this blog post but I want to leave you with some thoughts that keep coming to mind: If you're feeling overwhelmed by everything, if you don't want one more piece of advice, or if you feel you're somehow failing during this difficult time, know this: it's okay! As long as you are finding ways to let Christ in, you're doing okay. Don't worry about what the family next door is doing during this time. Don't worry about making all the Lenten crafts and special meals with your kids. Try not to fall into the comparison trap. Whatever you are able to do to prepare for the coming of Jesus at home this year is just fine. Jesus doesn't care about what meals you've made, the crafts you've done, the projects you've gotten done, whether your child has aced his math tests. It matters little whether or not you've taught yourself a foreign language while in isolation, taught yourself (or your family) how to dance the polka, or whether your house is clean and organized. All those things are great but some of us have the tendency to overdo it. As a result, we're left feeling worn out, angry, and resentful. Jesus doesn't want them. Jesus loves simple! Just look at His birth, His life, His death, and His burial. Everything about Jesus was simple...and yet so extraordinary! All Jesus wants is YOU. He loves YOU and all He asks for is your love in return - to perform even the smallest, most mundane of tasks out of love. Do what YOU can and put the rest into the Lord's hands. Here's something we can take from this unprecedented time: come to Jesus as we are, slow down, worry less, trust in Him more. I know, I know! Easier said than done but nothing is impossible with God's help! Over the next few days and in the coming weeks as this situation continues to unfold, do your best to place yourself into the arms of our Heavenly Father. He sees you as you are. He doesn't expect perfection. Go to Him. Embrace Him. His arms are wide open! Some Resources from Our Sunday Visitor: Daily email newsletter to provide Catholics with resources for growing in faith: https://reply.osv.com/covid-19?utm_campaign=20_04%20From%20the%20Editor%27s%20Desk_special&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua Available ebooks to help you know, live, and love your faith: https://reply.osv.com/40forquarantine?utm_campaign=20_04%20From%20the%20Editor%27s%20Desk_special&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua Daily coverage of what's going on in the church and in the world: https://www.osvnews.com/?utm_campaign=20_04%20From%20the%20Editor%27s%20Desk_special&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua Some authors from Our Sunday Visitor have created videos of themselves reading selected chapters from their books that can help and inspire people in the midst of this pandemic. These Author Read Aloud videos are available at the link below. More will be added as the weeks go by.
Article offering some suggestions for making the best of Holy Week at home: https://www.osvnews.com/2020/03/27/how-to-make-the-most-of-holy-week-at-home/?utm_campaign=20_04%20From%20the%20Editor%27s%20Desk_special&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua Jesus, I trust in you! Mother Mary, pray for us!