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Coronavirus – Be Not Afraid - With God All Things Are Possible

PSD Tim Von Dohlen

I could never have fathomed all the things that have happened in our country during March 2020.  I must admit that particularly over the last two weeks, I have been in somewhat of a “funk” because of the Coronavirus pandemic and all the uncertainty surrounding it.

The news cycles on TV have been bad for some time, but even worse now.  It seems almost certain that there will be a significant spike in the number of Coronavirus cases in Texas and throughout most of the United States before it gets better.  “Social distancing” is proving to work and developing good safety procedures: washing hands frequently; wearing plastic gloves when going out to grocery stores, pharmacy; wiping down items brought into the home; disinfecting surfaces frequently; etc.  The older the person the more these are necessary as we are at greater risk to get the Coronavirus.  The fact that no one really has the answers with certainty to so many questions makes the situation even harder for people to deal with.  Then when we add “sheltering in place” with all the family – mom, dad, and children together throughout the day - the tension, stress, and fatigue levels become higher.  I happen to believe the necessity of families being together can have positive short and long-term benefits.  We should look for positive outcomes.  This pandemic is slowing our lives down, and hopefully causing people to think about the important things in life – family, having God in our daily lives, helping others, and doing purposeful activities. 

I found in the Epoch Times newspaper ten simple ways to curb anxiety in these trying times:

Stay away from the news.
Breathe
Stretch
Go Outside
Hydrate
Eat Well
Clean Something
Sleep Well
Find Gratitude
Nurture your spirit – I would say practice your religion.

 

Who would have ever thought that America (and across the world), we would go from vibrant flourishing churches to where people cannot go to their church for Mass. Since this is Lent, I was really missing daily Mass and receiving the Eucharist.  Now Pat and I are viewing daily Mass on the Relevant Radio app with Father Rocky and making it a central part of our day with spiritual communion.  Please get the Relevant Radio free app if you do not already have it – it will enrich your life.  Our parish, St. John Neumann, is also streaming the Mass.  Since we are just a short time before Easter, as a part of our Lenten activity we are daily reading Lenten Gospel Reflections from Bishop Robert Barron, the Magnificat Lenten Companion, The Word for You Today, the Upper Room devotional and a Proverbs devotional.  (These take less than 30 minutes and make each day special.)

 

Hopefully, you watched Pope Francis on Friday March 27 as he walked alone in an unbelievably empty St. Peter’s Square in Rome, before leading a prayer service, where he gave a powerful homily, then gave a special blessing, called Urbi et Orbi, usually reserved for Christmas and Easter, but he gave it now due to the gravity of the Coronavirus worldwide. Pope Francis offered everyone the opportunity to receive a plenary indulgence if he or she prayed for an end to the Coronavirus. The Gospel from Mark was when the Apostles were in a boat with Jesus and a storm developed.  Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat and the Apostles fearing for their lives awakened Jesus and asked Jesus, Do you not care for us?  Jesus asked them, Why are you afraid? Do you not have faith?  What great questions that are so appropriate for us today as many are in fear for their safety and their very lives due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  The Bible in Heb 11:1 says, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”  “Faith isn’t empty hope or simply a positive confession of something we want to be true.” Bob Gass Ministries (BGM) Having faith, our life becomes more manageable, less stressful, peaceful and more purpose driven.  This is a time when everyone in our country from the President and members of Congress on down to the individual citizen  needs to be pull together for the benefit of all.  I am particularly proud of the leadership our President and Governor of Texas have shown in this difficult time.  It still is a time to have hope for the future.  We will recover as a country and have economic prosperity again if we can continue to harness the American spirit that brought us through WWII and 9/11.

 

Let’s not waste this time while we are “sheltering in place”.  Pat and I have already been cleaning out closets and doing things that we had been putting off.  I am going to use part of this extra time to reconnect with friends that I have not talked to in some time.  It’s also a good time to dream and to plan. “So, what’s your dream?  And what’s your plan?  Your dream and your talent are important, but long-term success won’t happen without a plan.  A plan takes your dreams and talents and maximizes them by bringing structure to the concept.  It involves being committed to a budget; it means constantly working on specific goals and details.  Write down your plan which includes specific actions and deadlines to fulfill it.” BGM When you have prayed for discernment to come up with the right plan, and you have that plan in place, God will bless it.

 

“We must have a vision that is a part of one’s dream and plan.  Great vision always precedes great achievement.  And God is the giver of great visions – so ask Him for one.  Vision gives birth to the goal; it sparks and fuels the fire within, and moves you forward in spite of the obstacles.  Understand these things: (1) Visions comes from God.  He knows what you’re capable of and what He has gifted you to do.  Are you looking beyond yourself, even beyond your own lifetime as you seek your vision?  If not, you may be missing your God-given potential and His best for you.  If, after seeking God for a vision, you still don’t have one, consider partnering with someone whose vision resonates within you.  (2)  Vision draws on your history.  Vision isn’t some mystical quality that comes out of a vacuum, it grows out of your past experiences, and the history of the people around you.  (3) Vision meets other people’s needs.  A God-given vision goes far beyond what one person can accomplish.  It includes and blesses others.  If your vision doesn’t do that, it is probably too small.  (4) Vision attracts resources.  Like a magnet, it draws, challenges, and unites people.  It also rallies finances and other resources.  The greater your vision, the more faith-filled people it will attract.  And the more challenging the vision, the harder the participants will fight to achieve it.” BGM 

We know we cannot have a vision to accomplish a dream and its plan without money.  How do we do that? “When it comes to God and your money: (1) When you do what pleases Him, He will bless you.  Why?  Because your actions prove that doing His will is more important to you than doing your own thing.  (2) God will show you how to make more money.  God works through unlikely channels, and he wants you to depend on Him as the source for everything you need.  The Bible says, ‘Remember the Lord thy God:  for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.’   The word ‘power’ encompasses ideas, strategies, plans, relationships and investments. ‘ BGM

Using this time wisely, we can develop a vision that encompasses a dream, a plan, finding the necessary monetary resources, and relying on our faith in Jesus Christ to accomplish it.  This is possible for you.  Do not be overburdened by uncertainty and fear while we overcome this Coronavirus pandemic.  Let us remember the words of Jesus, echoed by St. John Paul II, “Be not afraid!”  Let us pray to Jesus to calm our fears, increase our faith and come closer to Jesus. As the archangel Gabriel said to Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Use the Serenity Prayer - 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.


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