“How long, O Lord?”. After seven months of lockdowns, quarantines, masking, distancing, and various other restrictions, it seems that the opening line of Psalm 13 might have been (and/or still is) on millions and billions of peoples’ minds – mine for sure! St. Paul lets us in on a hopeful and inspiring message which could be read as a wise response to this question in Romans 5:20: “where (evil) abounds, grace abounds all the more!”; adapting this hopeful quote to our present circumstances: where pandemics abound, Grace abounds all the more! Great way to shift our perspectives on the trials stemming from the pandemic, huh? It sure ain’t easy to make that shift, though! Padre Pio could help: he once said: “Our Lord sometimes (allows) you (to) feel the weight of the cross. This weight seems unbearable but you carry it because in His love and mercy, the Lord helps you and gives you strength.” He lavishes us with His Grace.
Alone but Not Lonely…
Living in isolation has been tough. As Christians, we are each one of us one part of a larger Family and thrive on connection; having all this separation imposed on us has been tricky to deal with -and that is an understatement! In Padre Pio’s words these circumstances have sometimes seemed “unbearable”.
Despite the heaviness of the trial we face, what has fuelled me is spending more time with our Lord. I have had numerous opportunities to just sit with Him in prayer, meditation, reading/contemplating Scripture, devotions, the Rosary, reading or watching Spiritual books or movies, or in blessed silence.
In San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio lived in remoteness/isolation – maybe not quarantine per se but still far from his loved ones/family; he never reported feeling lonely though… He knew he was always being embraced by our Loving Father, by Blessed Mama Mary, and his Guardian Angels; I am slowly realizing (often having to remind myself) that the same is true for me – for all of us. Although it has seemed like a lonely time (missing Mass, Adoration, the Sacraments, and our brothers and sisters), we have been being hugged all along… And we always will be – until the end of time. Jesus promised us that and His promises are forever true.
In a way, this time of pandemic has provided us all with many chances to strengthen our relationship with our Saviour. To “hear” His words of comfort and mercy, to feel the tender embrace of his enduring promises. For myself, this has helped me to see things differently. I recognize the scary reality of the risks of infection and transmission yet that is pacified when I turn toward my God. Similar to when Jesus was carrying His burdensome and unbearable cross up to Calvary, through the Providential Love and Mercy of God, the whole situation was transformed when Simon of Cyrene came on scene to help. It wasn’t Simon that was helping of course: by the Grace of God (and Jesus’ surrender in the Garden), what could have been a horrific journey was transformed. Not to an easy scenic hike but a bearable journey. Still scary yet manageable. By the Grace of God.
By: Andrea Dasilva
PPPG Bloggers the faithful members of St. Mary's Padre Pio Prayer Group
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