As we enter the 50-day-Easter-season, we are still dealing with all types of emotions ranging from mild to moderate anxiety resulting from fear of the unknown and concerns about the future.
St. Augustine once said, “We are Easter People and Alleluia is our song!”
At times like these, our Alleluias can be very difficult to sing.
We may even find ourselves identifying with Jesus on Good Friday in the Garden of Gethsemane calling out to our heavenly Father for help. If and when we call out, we are bound more powerfully to God through our needs and weaknesses, our unfulfilled hopes and dreams, and our anxieties and problems, than we could ever have been through our joys, successes, and strengths.
As we face today’s challenging circumstances, we can become very focused on the challenges that confront us. These circumstances begin to shape our thinking, our responses, our decisions, and our relationships.
To help us navigate these unchartered waters, the Newsletter of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Facility in Opelousas offers these suggestions for our reflection.
Dare to be a person of joy – “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!” (Phil.4:4)
The word “always” is key in this passage. Circumstances do not determine our joy; we can choose to be joy-filled in all moments. Joy is a lasting inward experience that the storms of life do not affect. Joy lifts spirits and casts out the demons of anxiety and depression.
Dare to be a person of praise – “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise is ever on my lips.” (Psalm 34:1)
Our natural tendency is to praise God only when things are going well. Yet, to praise God is to become who we really are, since we were created to live for the praise of God’s glory (Eph. 1:12).
To praise God is to break through that worldly oppression, to realize how awesome God is and become awakened and alive to his love for us in all times and seasons!
Dare to be a person of hope – “Although I walk through the dark valley, I fear no evil, for you are at my side. With your rod and staff, you give me comfort.” (Psalm 23)
Fear is the enemy of hope. We enthusiastically experience God on the mountain top but quickly doubt in the valleys. However, God is even nearer to us in the dark valleys, in the cliffs and crevices of life that cause us to feel lost and alone. Allow yourself to feel hope rising in your heart as you let go and allow him to carry you in his loving embrace.
Dare to be a person of gratitude – “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his loving mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)
God’s presence is most visible to us in this time of crisis in our health care workers and all those serving us in countless ways.
With hearts filled with gratitude let us pray for them: “Loving God, we ask your blessings upon all those who are putting themselves at risk to care for us and the sick of our world. Ease their fears and fill them with your strength and courage. Keep them and their families safe and in good health. Bless the sacred work of their hands and assure them of our unending gratitude.”
These times call for our daring response, especially when we are tempted to respond with doubt, fear, sadness, anger, and frustration. Demons rise up in the midst of the community and threaten to lead the group astray. We have to stand fast and be true to whom we are called to be as members of the Body of Christ.
We have to dare to find joy in the face of sorrow, to hope in the face of doubt and fear, to be grateful for what was, what is, what will be.