In the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar the season between Evening Prayer on Pentecost and the beginning of Advent is the period called Ordinary Time. This distinction is made to call forth the regular celebration of the life of Jesus in the daily lives of the faithful. Frankly, I haven’t paid much attention to this distinction as this period of time for me has always meant the ending of the school year, testing, final grading, graduation, a more relaxed schedule perhaps interspersed with weddings, vacations, and the annual retreat. And then, of course moving forward, this time each year also signified the beginning of the next school year, planning, scheduling, and the promise of a whole new opportunity with students in the fall.
In 2020 there is nothing ordinary about this time inside or outside of the Church calendar or inside or outside of the Church building itself. We have been taken up into a tsunami of events the likes of which we have never seen before. There are three major events which touch the world and its people but there are many others which are personal and tragic and challenge our beliefs and our serenity. You have your own connections with COVID—19, racial justice, and the presidential election. These events touch each of us in ways that threaten our security and even our sanity. But I would invite us to reflect on our call to embrace the power of the divine which resides in our hearts and minds and has the potential to quiet and heal our souls. That call is one of solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the globe who suffer with us in unity and compassion. It is a call to reach out in virtual realities to help one another piece together what new medical research calls ‘broken heart syndrome.’ It is a call for prayer in love and selflessness which we have witnessed over and over in the best of us.
As I am writing this the simple prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous comes to mind as an apt way to continue on the journey of selfless love and divine wisdom so needed today. I invite us to pray this prayer for ourselves, our families, our communities, our country and our world as we close our days in God’s serene embrace.
GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY
TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE
COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN,
AND WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
LIVING ONE DAY AT A TIME
ENJOYING ONE MOMENT AT A TIME,
ACCEPTING HARDSHIP ON THE PATHWAY TO PEACE.
TAKING, AS JESUS DID, THE SINFUL WORLD AS IT IS,
NOT AS I WOULD HAVE IT.
TRUSTING THAT GOD WILL MAKE ALL THINGS RIGHT
IF I SURRENDER TO GOD’S WILL.
THAT I MAY BE REASONABLY HAPPY IN THIS LIFE,
AND SUPREMELY HAPPY WITH GOD FOREVER IN THE NEXT.