The Slowing…

We’re all at home now…together at home, away from one another.  My daily life hasn’t changed so much given my ‘day job’ of teaching online.  That being said, I’ve had a resurgence of chapel work, this time in a virtual Grace Chapel on facebook live and zoom.  People are gathering in heart and in spirit, two of my favorite gatherings.  They are gathering for community, for hope, for prayer.  I am grateful to serve them and I lean hard into my faith as I help them carry the burdens of fear, worry, illness and grief.  I feel that my time in Ireland was a graceful preparation for this slowing; for spending time alone and busying myself with things I love…forest bathing, reading, writing, and praying.  Meditation, Communion, Rosary, Sunday Service, Evening Prayers…all of the spiritual and devotional practices I’ve been doing for the 15 years of my ministry.  It’s a joyful service in sorrowful times.  It’s fulfilling and exhausting, exhilarating and heart-breaking.

I’m trained to remind people of God’s love for them.  It’s a hard sell these days to impart the truth that God knows all that has happened and all that will happen, that everything that happens is in God’s hands, that in the end all things work together for good.  It’s hard to walk the line between, ‘God is not punishing us.’ and ‘God is asking us to wake up.’  This slowing is giving everyone time to look inside, to assess priorities, to mend relationships.  I pray it stays as long as we need it to, as long as it takes to get our hearts on straight.  I also pray that it ends before the devastation and suffering has people falling into despair.  I am hopeful for a kinder, gentler world.  I am hopeful for a return to connection to the Earth and to one another.  I am hopeful for a shift in human consciousness that makes us more humane.  I am hopeful.

Peace to you in the slowing and in the waiting,

Mary Francis

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