by Anna Dourgarian on June 14, 2020
Be careful in turbulent times. Anxiety is an opportunity for the evil one to distract and, little by little, ensnare you.
In the Gospel today, “the Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” (John 6:52). Likewise, we argue: how will we stay safe from the pandemic? How will we feed all the hungry? How will we uncover unconscious bias and overthrow unjust systems?
How indeed? Remember that the Lord our God “brought forth water for you from the flinty rock and fed you in the desert with manna, a food unknown to your fathers” (Deuteronomy 8:16). God provides.
You know what you need to know: that the Lord our God loves and cares for you. Pray as He taught you, serve as He showed you, love as He loved you, and He will give you the answers you seek.
Sister Mary Virginia Schmidt would tell you to follow the example of Don Quixote. (Don Quixote is her favorite book; if you mention it to her, you will see her face light up.) She loves Don Quixote because, though he tilts at windmills, he is devoted to virtue and clings blindly to chivalry. He pursues love at the expense of all else. He might be laughably addled, but he knows his priorities.
For every thought and every action that you make with trust firmly rooted in the Lord, you let yourself be a tool by which He will change our world. Maybe you represented at a protest. Maybe you prayed passionately for peace. Maybe you fought hard to understand someone else’s point of view. Give your work to the Lord, and take quiet confidence that you are making a difference.
Do not worry that what you are doing is not enough. Do not worry that society is lost to sin. Despair is a victory for evil. Bring your grief to the altar as your sacrifice. Be gentle with yourself. Take each step as you are prepared to take it.
Walk by faith. Christ, the living bread, is a miracle worker beyond our comprehension.
by Anna Dourgarian on April 11, 2020
Here the Beaver’s voice sank into silence and it gave one or two very mysterious nods. Then signaling to the children to stand as close around it as they possibly could, so that their faces were actually tickled by its whiskers, it added in a low whisper —
“They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed.”
— C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Today is a sad Easter Eve. With the pandemic, Lent has been especially somber. While we should hope and pray for an extra Easter miracle, we cannot depend on it. God may ask us to continue our Lenten fasting and sacrifice throughout the Easter season.
This year, the Sisters planned to climb mountains with our Lenten Sunday readings, from Jesus’ temptation on a mountain to His crucifixion on the Mount of Golgotha. They planned to climb with intentional prayers, minimal decorations, and gifts to their neighbors of meat foregone from their own table.
But God had something else planned. He shut down the state. He doubled the size of the mountain. When COVID-19 hit, Lent became a time of strict discipline and constraint. The Sisters canceled visits with friends and mourned the world’s suffering from sickness, lost finances, and isolation.
In the confusion and the sorrow, I am reminded of Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, where it was “always winter and never Christmas” (20). It seems like it is always Lent and never Easter.
But Lent had another, hidden side. Beyond the mountains, Sunday readings also foretold the Lord’s promises, in the cure of the blind man and the raising of Lazarus. For the Sisters, they found inspiration and aid from the glory of the Saints. They also got to companion the children and adults scheduled to receive Rites of Initiation tonight at Easter Vigil Mass, and they continue to pray even as the Rites are postponed.
While they miss the people coming in and out of their home, the Sisters find beauty in the quiet. Time for paying attention to the birds in the garden and the green grass is a balm to their sadness. Out of the tragedy, they see goodness and God’s guiding hand. As Sister Mary Paula pointed out, “This is my ninetieth Lent, and originally it was hard to see something new in it. But this year has been different.”
Friends, despite the hard times, stay alert, and stay joyful. Jesus is on the move.