Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!
To say that things are un-ordinary at the moment would be the understatement of the decade!! Each new day seems to bring with it uncharted territory and bewildering new realities. This morning I opened an e-mail from the Secretary of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety department (my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss) in which she shared with us that Governor Beshear and his family have been exposed to the Coronavirus. Last Saturday I learned that my colleague in the EKCC Chaplain’s Office – Dr. Delsa Mock – has been quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus and that I would have to radically alter my work schedule.
I don’t know about you, but I find myself wanting to curl up in a ball and stay in bed until the growing shadow of this evil thing passes and “normal” returns. I’ve been fighting both anxiety and depression in the midst of this. I’ve been fighting to stay fully engaged both as a Jesus-follower and as a Jesus-bearer. As I scramble to keep things covered, I know that I have to put top priority on following (listening to and heeding the voice of) Jesus. If I fail to do that, I know that I will fall into a place of despair and gloom. Now more than ever I need to hear his Word and to reflect upon it. Likewise, because I know that I’m not alone in this struggle, I know that I need to continue bearing Jesus to those around me. Now is definitely not the time for me/us to be isolated from others who are hurting, worried, upset, or angry. Now is the time to “love [our] neighbor as [ourselves]”.
To those ends, I’ve begun doing some things to help me order my days and nights. At 9:00 am you’ll find me praying Morning Prayer. At Noon you’ll find me praying Midday Prayer. At 3:00 pm you’ll find me praying Evening Prayer. At bedtime you’ll find me praying Compline. Sometimes, for Morning and Evening Prayer, when I’m pinched for time (because of the unusual nature of the times) I may only read the readings. Sometimes I may only be able to pray the Psalm. But always, I pause…because the need to be near Jesus presses in my troubled heart.
Also, as St. Benedict urges in his “Rule”, I’m learning to take extra care of my physical needs in these anxious times. I’m keeping to a strict bedtime…no matter what tasks are unfinished. I recognize that lack of good sleep is a cause of depression and anxiety in my daily life. I also recognize that I need to be more careful than usual right now in what I eat and when I eat it. With all the stresses that are laid upon us in these troubling times, we have to feed our bodies all the more carefully. And, by the way, I have received word that I’ve tested negative for the Coronavirus! So, if you feel comfortable doing so, I would invite you to join us for Mass on Sunday at 10:30 am!!
So, until we are together again (whether virtually or in-person)…
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever! Amen!