Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I wanted to share something with you on a very personal note. And I do it because I know many of you, particularly parents, are in the same place. I alternate every day thinking this is just a bad dream and hoping it will all be over when I wake up, to wanting to have a good cry. When you have people counting on you, and you have no good news to give them, it’s really hard to stay upbeat. But, upbeat you have to be for everyone else. Dad can’t fall apart, right? So while I can’t ever know how it feels to be a parent in the sense that you are, please know that I do get a little of it. I have people depending on me. I have a rectory house that has to be fed and loved and sustained. I have a business to run with people who need their paycheck and need my support. And then I have parishioners who need to know that God loves them in all this. We’re all in this together.
So I wanted to share with you some things on the spiritual side that are getting me through this COVID-19 mess. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
First, don’t watch the news or read your Facebook feed all day long. It’s not making you feel better and it isn’t going to change anything. A bit of news is good to keep informed so that you can do the right thing, but diving deep can make you really feel overwhelmed.
Second, it’s okay not to be okay. If you need to talk to a counselor, it’s okay to do that. It’s also okay just to take a five minute time-out and go have that cry. Make sure you take care of yourself.
Third, remember what we believe about where God is in all this. These are always true, but maybe more so even now:
- Illness and even fear are not God’s will for us. He didn’t make this and he grieves right along with us.
- God will not abandon us. He didn’t create us and then step back to watch it all play out. He created us out of love, and out of love, he accompanies us through the hardest times. Times like these.
- This illness is not God punishing us for anything. God sent his only Son to save us from punishment, so he is certainly not going to take that back like a capricious dictator.
- When someone asks you why this is happening, you know, someone like your little ones, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” And I’ll tell you right now, I don’t know. And that’s not because my faith is weak or I missed a theology class. That’s a faithful answer in times like these.
- Most important: God loves you, loves us, more than anything. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever change that.
As your pastor, I really wish I could make all of this go away for you. My heart is absolutely breaking that we cannot be together. I miss seeing you all so much. I yearn with all my being for that day when all this is over, and we can be together, and hug each other, and grieve our losses, and look to our futures. Until then, be assured of my prayers for you, and know that I love you.
Yours in Christ and His Blessed Mother,
Father Pat Mulcahy, Pastor