With the first day of Spring , 2022, fast approaching on March 20, I want to celebrate the downward trend of the Pandemic! Yet, the news of suffering across the globe on radio, television, internet and smartphones, filled with doom and gloom, only serves to deepen my sadness and distress.
In trying to overcome my sense of desolation at this time, I reviewed some of Ignatius of Loyola’s advice on the daily movements of desolation and consolation. And I found David L. Fleming, SJ’s contemporary take on one of Ignatius’ thoughts on desolation, “The important attitude to nourish at a time of desolation is patience. Patience can mitigate the frustration, dryness, or emptiness of the desolation period and so allow us to live through it a little less painfully. We should try to recall that everything has its time, and consolation has been ours in the past and will be God’s gift in the future. Patience should mark even the efforts we undertake to work against the desolation which afflicts us.” I tell myself to be compassionate with myself.
Intentionally, I want to notice the everyday events that bring me consolation. I share a few here. Acknowledging my own feelings brings me to realize that I am not alone; I am limited. I am in touch with humility. This is a good start. I am grateful for the prayers, supportive messages, internet resources that are popping up on the screens around me. Walks in the neighborhood reassure me of the movement of the seasons. In consolation, I can “savor the moment” with gratitude, resting in the presence of the Divine.
Emerging on spring walks are tiny new buds on the ends of bushes, opening me to signs of new life. Last year, On St. Patrick’s Day, 2021, I was brightened by a female Cardinal perched on a branch of the forsythia bush outside my window. This full breasted matron perched there for over 30 minutes. Hoping she will choose this bush to build her nest again this spring, I am reminded of Celtic spirituality with its love of finding connections to the Creator in nature. Where might you be looking for the gifts of Spring?
Revisiting the fact that, in the Bible, the words, “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid” are found 365 times. It encourages me to lean on signs of trust, compassion, mercy, hope amid times of desolation. How does this scriptural reminder touch your heart?
With hope, I share this prayer from my faith community to you and yours:
“God of all Creation, from the beginning of time you have shown your love for your people.
When you sent your son, Jesus, to live among us you shared our human joys as He celebrated with the wedding guests and you experienced our human pains in His suffering and death.
Be near to us in these days of uncertainty and fear.
Give us hope and trust as we are made to face our human frailty.
Grant us peace, wisdom, and courage as we work together to overcome this crisis.
And strengthen our faith, that with you we can conquer all evil and distress.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”