Friends and Benefactors,
Praised be the Incarnate Word! The COVID-19 shadow was cast over every aspect of our lives the last four months. The unwelcome companions on this journey, uncertainty, economic hardship, loss of our public life, and grief, are teaching us something about our human family. We have lived with fear, fear of losing our health, of losing our livelihood, of losing someone we love. But also fear of what lies ahead. Facing our fear requires a lot of courage, but more importantly, it requires accompaniment.
With our Sisters, I have learned that the best antidote for fear is generosity. We need to be there for one another like never before, to ensure the common good. Just when our survival instinct tempts us to retreat and to isolate out of fear, our generosity opens us up to accompany others. When we do this, make the phone call, say a prayer for someone, or write that card, the shadow lifts. When we are generous with our time and talent moving beyond ourselves, we feel we can cope together. Giving conquers fear. Giving of ourselves and our resources when everything is calling us to store and preserve is a gift of Grace. I pray for this blessing for all of you.
We have struggled through COVID-19 in our ministries and especially in our retirement centers. Our Sisters and residents have gone in and out of full lockdowns, and have been forced to stay in their rooms for several days at a time. This has been painful for all of us. I want to share with all of you the prayer I shared with my Sisters:
Several months ago, I happened on a painting by Daniel Bonnell, an artist who has blessed our congregation and our ministries with his work, which took my breath away called “Jesus wept”. I share it with you here. Notice the contrast of the color, the warmth of the tones, Jesus’ countenance, the consoling embrace, but also notice the tears in his eyes. This is how I imagine the encounter when Martha asked him, “Lord, where were you when…” and first Jesus embraced her, and cried with her. That is how I imagine Jesus now: embracing all of humanity, crying with us. And that is where I place each one of you, day after day, in Jesus’ embrace who suffers with you.
May his embrace give you a generous heart, so you in turn can embrace with your time, talent and treasure our human family.
S. Teresa Maya, CCVI
On the header, “Jesus Wept” painting by Daniel Bonnell.