This has been a year like no other. We have learned a lot about ourselves and what is deeply important to us. In first place, is the daily Eucharistic celebration called by the familiar name, “the Mass.” We were quarantined in our little third floor monastery. On first floor there were no Eucharistic celebrations in the large, elegant Lourdes Chapel. Within a few weeks of the Pandemic lockdown we found our liturgical home in Ireland. At 7:00 a.m. we gather around the television screen in our community room and celebrate the Eucharist with the priests and a few women of the choir at Sts. Peter and Paul, Portlaoise, Ireland. Their parish church is shut down but thanks to international television their Mass is broadcast all over the planet. Each morning they read off the names of individuals and families who have written in for mention at the Mass. And so we know we are praying with the whole wide world.
EVERYDAY EASTER We die repeatedly, they say: despair, depression, disappointment, every dark human helplessness hints at death.
And yet it happens also that some unscripted word (not our own) sets life moving in our veins again. Strange that we cannot do this for ourselves, and how that little spring surprises us. Quick as heartbeat, the paralysis of death gives way; Subtle as breath, life claims us and we rise.
Sister Kate Martin, OSC
Please know our love and prayer is for each and all of you, dear friends and family,
PEACE…it is the largest word on our Christmas Card. Peace takes the most space in our Webster Unabridged Dictionary. It takes three quarters of a column of small print to spell out all the aspects of peace. Likewise our large map of the world covers a third of the wall space in one of our office/work rooms. But peace is larger than the globe, and worthy of space on our Christmas card, peace circling the planet at this time of year, with a pandemic ragging over our world.
Peace we send to you our friends, that you might distribute it to all you know. And distribute it we can. Thanks to Zoom we can arrive at everyone’s table. And if our computer is down, we can put on a mask and knock on our neighbor’s door, keeping, of course, social distancing.
By email we received an invitation to celebrate Los Posadas with friends across the country via Zoom. This Christmas enactment of the Los Posadas is among one of the most heartfelt folk traditions in our hemisphere. It commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph to find a safe refuge where Mary can give birth to the baby Jesus. You notice the small figures at the bottom of our Christmas card: Mary is seated on the donkey, led by Joseph searching out a place for the Child to be born.
Let the Child be born in us this Christmas, wherever and however, with tenderness and care, and above all in peace, gentle peace.
We can also think of the persons throughout our planet encarserated for various crimes and misdemeanors, for the migrants from countries throughout our world, and our sisters and brothers stuck seemingly forever in the camps. This Corona plague might be a wake up call for more of us to take responsibility for our sisters and brothers in the human family.
We continue to hold each of you, our friends, in prayer—open to surprises that might come for all of us in this most unusual time.
We have taken our Easter greeting to you, whether by card, email or website, from the words of Jesus in the Gospel according to John. The setting is the Last Supper, which we celebrate on Thursday of Holy Week. “I have not called you servants, but friends.”
How will we celebrate Holy Week this year: in our homes “sheltering in place,” or in protective gear caring for others in hospitals or testing stations? We can think of ourselves as the disciples of Jesus who were hiding out because of fear from the “authorities.” We too are hiding out, not because of the authorities, but because of something so elusive that a special test is needed for identification. We are hiding out because of fear, fear for ourselves and for our loved ones. This is a righteous fear, a godly fear.
In times of fear humans find that words are a bulwark for courage. We are a planet of words. We are able to communicate with compassion throughout our world. We realize in this tragic moment that many on our little blue planet are sick and we need to be gentle and provide that necessary care for them.
To all those who are out and about caring for others, to those who are staying at home to stop the spread of the Coronavirus,to each and all of you, family and friends, we send our love and prayer. Get well, stay safe.