March 25, 2020
As we find our world being turned upside down. As we experience the powerful grip of fear. As we long for understanding. As we grieve the death of far too many of God’s children. As we feel the longing for a human embrace. As we feel the hunger for God’s sacraments, where are we to turn? My friends, we turn to the God who has not abandoned us and who continues to stand by our side, we turn to the God of Hope!
During this time of uncertainty let us not allow the virtue of hope to become a forgotten virtue. Our faith tells us first and foremost that in the time of need we ought to turn to God in prayer. Why? Because God has promised to listen to our cry, to never allow us to carry a burden too hard to bear – God promises us hope! Hope is the profound and genuine desire for something good rooted in the expectation of receiving that which we seek. We pray because we desire goodness for ourselves and all God’s creation, and our desire is communicated to God through prayer because we expect, we believe, God can in fact make it a reality – this is the virtue of hope. Hope is not a wish such as we make as we blow out birthday candles. Hope is not a dream that our favourite team wins the championship, or we win a million dollars in the lottery. Hope is the act of dwelling in the possibilities, for once you embrace hope everything becomes possible.
In order for the possibilities we hope for to become possible we must act, for our choices reflect that which we believe. We can not just be passive in this moment of uncertainty, others must witness our acts of hope. Prayer is without question the greatest witness of hope we can offer ourselves and world in this time of need. Yes, it would be much better if we could gather as a community of faith united in prayer, but that is not yet possible even as I live in the hope it will soon be a reality again. We can still pray together as the community of St. Francis of Assisi.
Each day Father Raph and myself come together at 11:00 am to offer Mass for the people of St. Francis parish – join us in spirit at that time. At 11:00 am each day I invite you to stop whatever you are doing and pray. Pray in particular for the health of all the members of St. Francis, and for those health professionals who place their own health at risk in order to care for us. Let us send an overwhelming, loud and united voice of prayer to the God of hope. The 100’s of voices from St. Parish parish, united to prayer at one moment in time, will surely be heard by our God.
Our Holy Father has asked the world to turn in prayer to Mary, the Mother of God. Each day to pray the rosary for the intercession of Mary. While this is an individual act of prayer it can also be a communal time of prayer. I would invite all the members of St. Francis parish to pray the rosary daily at specific times if possible. Let us set aside three times during the day when you would select one of those times to pray the rosary, knowing that other members of the parish are praying at the exact same time. I would suggest if you are praying the rosary to pray it at either 9:00 am, 4:00 pm or 7:00 pm. Again we become a united voice of prayer to God.
My prayer is that the protection of God will rest upon you and all who are dear to you. As St. Paul so often said, I long to see you again, to embrace you and join with you in celebrating the greatness of our God.