March 15, 2020

MARCH 15, 2020
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

OUR CALL AND JOURNEY – LOVE IN ACTION
DURING THE HEALTH CRISIS

 
Our Lenten theme has been re-created to reflect our current world wide health crisis and offers ways to hear God’s call during this difficult time on our journey to be love in action.
Reflection Story
The wrung-out mother of a hysterical child sent the following email and social media message to her friends and relatives, “I accidentally threw away my four- year old’s favorite candy wrapper. Please keep us both in your thoughts during this difficult time!”
Anyone who knows the overreaction of a 4-year-old to change or when they are confronted with something beyond their control can sympathize with the mom. Honestly, I and possibly you can identify with the 4-year-old’s “melting down” especially during this current health crisis. The moment to moment changes in news, answered and unanswered questions, the fact that it is very much beyond our control can cause us more than precautionary anxiety, it can cause panic.
Our spiritual life calls us to journey with God through all situations as love in action. This is the time to recognize God’s call to connect more intimately through prayer and to gain a spiritual perspective. Prayer is the key that sets us free from melting down and teaches us to accept with grace what cannot be changed and grants the wisdom for us to change what is within our control. God calls us to journey with the following question in every situation, “Lord, what is the next right or loving thing for me to do?” All other questions about the future are unknowable speculation and can only increase our anxiety and thus paralyze us from making healthy choices for ourselves and others.
Centers for spiritual enhancement and psychological health recommend best practices during times of mass crisis. After studying these recommendations, we have created an acronym made from the word – ACTION – from our theme Love in Action. The acronym below can be used as a spiritual practice for prayer, reflection and action.
Prayer Practice and Actions of Love

A — Attune to God
C – Consider others
T – Turn off constant news stream
I – I can make a difference
O – OK, God what’s the good news?
N – Now is the time to love
A – Attune to God

Prayer is the key that sets us free from anxiety! Praying, deep breathing, mindfulness, repetitive prayer (Rosary) all reduce obsessing and open us to God’s wisdom.

C – Consider others
The spiritual and practical question to ask is, “What is the next right or loving thing to do?” Prayer is the key that sets us free from our own overthinking!

T – Turn off constant news stream
Being informed and being a news junkie are two different things. Plan and decide when and how you will gain your information – stick to your plan.

I – I can make a difference
Ask in prayer, “Who, what, where, when, how can I make a difference for the good of another person?” Prayer is the key that sets us free from asking the unanswerable why.

O – OK, God what’s the good news?
Looking for good news in prayer is the way to transform our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the good news is the inner peace experienced just because God is nearer to us than we are to ourselves. Gratitude lists are a healthy way to discover the light of Christ in darkness.

N – Now is the time to love
Now is the time to discover God’s love and power which does for us what we find impossible to do for ourselves. Now is the time to love others and to refrain from us/them thinking, we are all God’s people, we are all brothers and sisters. Now is the time we love ourselves and be set free through the self-care of prayer.

The Choice is Ours
The health crisis is like a lost candy wrapper – what is done is done. We have a choice to become unwrapped ourselves or to turn to prayer as the key to set us free. Help us, Lord, to hear your Call to choose order in chaos, faith over fear and love in action on this challenging part of our Journey from Glory to Glory. Amen.

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Key Communication
The best practices listed below follow the recommendations made by health officials at the time of the writing of this article. Should public gatherings such as Mass be suspended, we will send links to televise the Eucharist and other liturgical services. Therefore, a card will be distributed asking for your email this weekend so that we can keep in touch. You can also provide your information at: stphilip.org/com-key

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