Changing the World

by Loretta Fritz

When I arrived at my second mission assignment, Madonna House Toronto, I thought I knew what a gift the duty of the moment aspect of our Madonna House spirituality is.

Then aside from grocery shopping and walks for exercise, I lived for many months under the strict stay-at-home lockdown. During that first year of COVID-Time, I developed an even greater gratitude for the gift of Catherine’s duty of the moment approach to life.

MH Toronto had a 38-year history of service, outreach, and hospitality. Even though by the time I got there, the number of staff was less and the type of mission and service had changed to a less active one, we were still quite busy with various activities and many visitors.

Overnight, that stopped. It was excruciating for us. How to extend hospitality to our friends when we couldn’t leave our house or have them in? Madonna House (including we three at MHT) do not use the internet extensively in our daily lives, so we could not quickly pivot into online outreach as some ministries did.

It took us about six months to re-start our Friday night scripture study via Zoom. We do have a front porch and a back yard, but neither worked very well in the winter.

So confined in our house, I began to pilgrimage deeper into trust in God, into his plan for the world, and into our foundress’ teaching on the duty of the moment.

This basically means do what is in front of you very well for love of God, and through the Mystical Body of Christ, this will change the world. Somewhere. Somehow.

Doing the little things needed to keep our house clean, warm, and in good repair was enough, in a world where almost everyone was stuck at home, to change the world.

If I washed those plastic bags and hung them up to dry one more time, it would change the world for the better. Sweeping and mopping the floors every week would help someone halfway across the world—even if no physical guest ever graced those floors.

I think all three of us assumed our Madonna House vocation ensured we would receive Jesus daily at Mass, or close to it, especially in Toronto, Canada! Then, together with Catholics around the world, we were suddenly cut off from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

However, we of Madonna House do have the gift of the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus himself, in the chapels in our mission houses. For all those who could not get to Mass, could not be near Jesus in the tabernacle, we were there before Christ in our chapel.

We brought the people of the world to His feet, somehow. By praying Vespers or Lauds each day, praying in silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, watching Mass online as so many around the world did, we brought the world to him.

Now, of course, we have Mass again, and I turn again to this spiritual treasure and to the Blessed Sacrament, as we carry inside all those suffering from the war in Ukraine.

The world will change if I (we) wash that dish, shovel the snow, or mow the lawn. Or ask how that sister is after a hard day, am aware of the brother who is repairing yet another broken whatever or hauling away our trash.

Perhaps this duty of the moment spirituality that I am so grateful for can help you through these terrible times as well.