Give it a Side Glance: A look at Community Life amidst a Pandemic
I’m quite confident that most of us, not only in the People of Hope, but world wide, have become familiar with several new buzz words and phrases over the past few months. Do these sound familiar?: Pandemic, "Keep well, stay safe!", 6 ft. social distancing, Covid-Zoom meetings, Hunker down-stay HOME!, No mask, no entrance, “Watching” Mass virtually, doctor visits, virtual school.
Like it or not, these expressions have settled into our everyday language, rising from a need to express new life circumstances since the coronavirus has invaded our world. Not just our language, but our jobs, our schooling, shopping, worshipping, recreating, traveling...you name it, and it has been impacted!
Now, how do we deal with these changes and challenges? Of course, that is a loaded question with answers on many levels. Personally, I have been able to take extra time for prayer, spiritual reading, and rosary time with the Blessed Mother. Serving others has been a joy and privilege during this trying time. In addition, something that has truly blessed me is a memory from our dear family friend of many years, Fr. James Carroll. In the early 70’s I was an overwhelmed, young mother. I was seeking the Lord through spiritual direction with Fr. Carroll. A bit of sound advice given to me 50 years ago can be applied to our lives in this pandemic. Father said to me, “Throughout hectic days, keep your eyes on your heavenly home, and give everything else a side glance." In other words, don’t be stressed over the everyday challenges of young family life. Just perform your duties in love as your eyes remain fixed on Jesus.
So, applying these words to this current state of affairs, my prayer life keeps me focusing on the heavenly reality that Jesus Christ is my Lord. The second part of that advice-the part about giving everything else a side glance, has admittedly challenged me. When I let my mind and heart wander from heavenly thoughts, it becomes difficult for me to give that “side glance of less-than-important” to many overwhelming aspects of this strange way of living. Praised be Jesus Christ, I don’t have to fight this battle alone.
I have been blessed with a beautiful family that is loving and supporting me through these times. My broader, spiritual family, the People of Hope, has helped me keep my eyes on Jesus. The technological advancements that so many community members have generously and tirelessly worked on to keep us connected, have blessed my life greatly and have sharpened my spiritual focus. Here I name a few:
I love the virtual prayer meetings! When I’m feeling a sense of isolation from my sisters and brothers, I might re-listen to the praise and worship music, joining in with the singing. It lifts my heart. The display of the song’s words in a large font, has been very helpful. I’ve been fed spiritually through the exhortations from Marty, Fr. John Gordon and others. If the quarantine continues, I pray these online messages continue. In addition, watching my brothers and sisters as they share their new and unique family favorite moments, many times spiced with humor, puts a smile on my face. At other times, receiving heartfelt witnesses from members has inspired and encouraged me.
A number of weeks ago, joining in with the Lord’s Day prayers reminded me that I’m not alone on a Saturday evening. Knowing I can’t be with my sisters and brothers in person, I’m joined with them in spirit, feeling closer to them.
Our women’s group has not mastered a zoom meeting and not all of our sisters have computers. Therefore we are staying in touch through phone calls, emails, and writing notes of encouragement when possible. With the weather warming up, we had our very first outdoor social distancing women’s group!
How I am enjoying our online community bulletins. What a blessing! Thank you to our tech savvy members whose knowledge, diligence and creativity have gifted us with a beautiful composition of love and information. The varied topics enclosed have given me inspiration for prayer, encouragement, and a reminder that I am a member of a body of people! I’m not alone. In addition to his own personal messages, I thank Marty for sending us links to various, inspirational articles from around the Sword of the Spirit and the Brotherhood of Hope.
Of course, as the saying goes, there’s nothing like the real deal! We were not created to live a quarantined life, deprived of human touch. However, we have been given this challenge in our lifetime and Our Lord is still at the center of it. I am so grateful for the ways in which the People of Hope continues to assist me in keeping my eyes on Jesus and connecting me with members of our community. This enables me to give those other anxiety ridden challenges of the pandemic a side glance.
- Theresa, People of Hope Member
Article from our May 31st Pentecost Bulletin. Click Here to access the full bulletin.