Crisis Times are Holy—Part 2

by Elizabeth Bassarear, Larry Klein, and Fr. David Linder, directors general of MH

April 4, 2020:

the eve of Palm Sunday

It is hard to comprehend that we all are coming upon Holy Week and Easter because so much is different. For one thing, throughout the whole world, so many Catholics will not be attending services.

Any control that we think we had of our days, our life, our future, is gone. Our lives are in God’s hands. We have only this present moment in which to love. But whatever is happening, we can trust that Christ will rise and, in the words of one of our Easter songs, “Love will come again.”

It is natural for our minds to struggle with the changes, the differences, the unknowns. And perhaps we need to let this happen, to let our minds do what they need to do. (As Fr. Sharkey, a deceased MH priest, used to say, “Let the mind think and chatter away; that is what it does.”)

But we don’t need to live there. As never before, this is a time to for us to find our life, our home, our dwelling in our deepest hearts.

As we hear news from our mission houses, especially about the isolation into which they, like so many others, have been thrust fairly suddenly and for what may be a long time, the word that comes forth is poustinia.

As the staff in our mission houses screech to a halt from busy days and planning for Easter to suddenly not going out and having no one in and nothing to plan for, their days might be long and the tensions might increase. (Smile!)

In 1973, when Catherine opened our first poustinia house, a house whose main work is prayer and listening to people, she spoke clearly of the struggles the staff there would face as they changed from an active ministry to being what Catherine called “a poustinia in the marketplace.”

If you are now isolated in your house with more time on your hands, is God asking you, too, to enter in some way, into more and deeper prayer?

In following the news, one can see that the present challenges are bringing out the best and also, at times, the worst in human nature. We should not be surprised by this.

We may be helpless on some outer level, but interiorly and in our family lives, grace is being offered to us in abundance. It might be messy but Love will come again!

Living on our knees is something we tend to think of as a last, desperate resort but it may be that God desires that we dwell there. What a gift that will be! It does require that we let go of life as we know it.

For all of us who are followers of Christ, there will need to be ongoing discernment, listening to the Spirit, in order to know how to serve others, where to serve, when to take risks, when to protect. Listen to the Spirit. He will lead you.

In the past few weeks, we have often seen here that we have to choose between two goods. One good might be something we have always done and is important to our life and spirit, and the other good might be for the safety of the vulnerable. God will guide you.

At times the director of a community, the head of a household, the parents, might need to make a decision quickly and when this happens, the others need to trust. At other times, it will be good to have communal discussions, after which the head or heads will make a final decision. If we do this, unity will deepen among us.

Along with the whole world, we are in uncharted waters. The discernment about how to be available and serve others with prudence, and where to take risks and make sacrifices, even to point of our life, is something we may face.

As we move through these new and perhaps tumultuous times, we can trust that the Lord is with us, and that he is not asleep.

We recommend to you two books which can be ordered from MH Publications: Living the Gospel Without Compromise and Light in the Darkness: A Christian Vision for Unstable Times.