Thursday, March 27

March 27, 2020

Dear Folks,

God bless one and all in our quiet little home in the hills of Loudoun County.  Both young and old.  Both married and single.  Please know that I very much worry for each of you and pray for all of you.  Is it all about the virus?  Not entirely.  Is it because, as some priests are identified… you’re getting a little shack wacky?” Interesting concept.   I am worried for the stress and tension that comes from keeping you set in place to avoid the virus. None of you are monastics and all of you flourish in a society that honors Type-A personalities.  It has only been a week with months to go…

One of my cousins called me today and said the State of Illinois has been shut down.  The police of Chicago, of which six are cousins of ours, are handing out tickets on the bike trail along Lake Shore Drive.  What a tremendous let down and it sits next to one of the Greatest Lakes.   I leave you with a song about Lake Shore Drive.

The psychologists might use the word, “isolation,” while the religious might refer to the disposition, “solitude. In either case there has to be a response to the pain sensed by so many of our locals.  The psychologist might call for a therapy while the religious might seek a formation of solitude, setting a standard that gives stability to the heart and soul.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen with a wit and wisdom that transcends the bounds of history as well as the bounds of science and theology used two personal pillars of piety to stabilize his life.

Sheen, personally anchored his daily spiritual life in two fundamental ways that gave him both peace of soul and real power to change the world around him. Those two anchors were his unbroken commitment to a daily holy hour before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and his daily living out his consecration to Mary, especially through his fidelity to praying the Holy Rosary daily and encouraging every household to do the same.

‘A great burden is thrust upon men who call themselves religious. In this fatal hour, all of their energies should be spent recalling man to his spiritual destiny and summoning him to invoke the God Who made him . . . . Let those who call themselves Catholics, or Protestants or Jews recall that the function of their religion is to intensify the spiritual life of man and not to empty the vials of bitterness into hearts, stirring up one against another.’”

With the Sheen Formation Program, and it’s two pillars I recommend to one and all, that you list them on your fridge this week… Holy Hour and Holy Rosary.  Please do it now.  And please do it together.  Let us pray for one another.

In closing, I leave you with a great quote from Fr. Heisler, from the dinner table tonight.  He said, when upon inspecting his army, Alexander the Great met a man with the same name as his, Alexander.  He said to him, “Act as I act because we share the same great and noble name.”  In these times I think Christ the Messiah might make the same statement to all of us.  “Act as I act because we share the same great and noble name, Christian.”

Collegiate Answer:  Why do Italians wear the color red for the Feast of St. Joseph?  Red, you say?? Yes, red. In the early centuries the time around March 19th marked the beginning of the calendar year, when the bright color of the orchards and vineyards were coming alive.  It also marked the strength of blood and Fertility as vital to life.

Collegiate Question:  Who was the 14th century saint for plagues?

Prayer to St. ????? against Disease

Tintoretto, St. ???? Plague Victims

O Great St. ?????,
deliver us, we beseech thee,
from the scourges of God;
through thy Intercession,
preserve our bodies
from contagious diseases,
and our souls from the contagion of sin.
Obtain for us salubrious air;
but, above all, purity of heart.
Assist us to make good use of health,
to bear suffering with patience;
and, after thy example,
to live in the practice of penance and charity,
that we may one day enjoy the happiness
which thou has merited by thy virtues.

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