Greetings and Blessed Feast of the most holy apostles and evangelists Ss. Peter and Paul! I write this from the most unexpected of places. I sit on a large couch in an air bnb in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s North American commonwealth was good enough to receive our temporarily displaced family for a few days and nights when our connecting flight to San Francisco was cancelled. We were originally planning to use Canada for a brief layover to keep down the cost of traveling with a family of seven. Trouble started when this discount travel service bumped our connecting flight to two days later! Suddenly last night, Canada’s strict COVID protocols came falling down upon us and we were left scrambling last minute to find local transportation, accommodation, and a way to explain our unplanned presence in another country.
Spider webs can be used to stop bullets; they also can entrap a fly for dinner. The slogan: stay home, stay safe, save lives is a brilliantly effective slogan, but as a simplistic slogan, it can be misguided unless we unravel it and find its proper spiritual application. Unless we parse it a little: expose it to the UV Light of Christ, boil it to disinfect and analyze its DNA structure, we can’t be sure when it will protect and when it will entrap.
As a universal command STAY HOME does not work for everyone, of course. People who are sick or immuno-compromised should take this advise to heart. For this idea to be effective for everyone, we should see its application in the monastic sense as it is given to hermits: Stay in your cell and your cell will teach you everything. This is a good idea while we are staying home more. Use the time to go within, pay attention to the inner person, our heart and mind, do more spiritual reading, especially read the Scriptures, repent as the Lord commanded and practice ascetic feats to accomplish this. Practice more interior prayer; spend more time with our families and care for our relations.
Went last night to an event where good friends who went on mission to the Middle East told the stories of internally displaced persons and refugees from the Syrian Civil War. They blog about some of their experiences here. Below is a recent sermon on the subject from a good friend of mine in Webster, MA. May God have mercy on us all and teach us how best to reach out and care for what happens on the other side of the world.
How many of us saw the picture of the little Syrian boy washed up on the shore in his attempt to flee into Greece? How about other images of migrants desperately trying to leave places of hopelessness for a better future in Europe or somewhere else? What would drive someone to risk not only their own life, but the lives of their children and entire family?
For many of us, we feel quite uncomfortable looking at these scenes of frantic migrants. If you look through the internet, we can see inspiring examples of people reaching out in compassion and care, while we also see how migrants, refugees, and immigrants can be bundled into a political football, and tossed around in quite a callous manner. Continue reading →