The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity – Pastor’s Reflection
As I write these lines on May 28 muggy weather has arrived in New York, signaling that spring will soon lose its annual battle with summer. The humidity brings out the Kentuckian in me and gives me new grounding in summers past. One thing is for sure though: the heavier air is not slowing the increase of vehicular and foot traffic as urban life reasserts itself. As this happens, it will be good to ask how we have fared during the weeks of lockdown. At the Shrine of St. Jude, we want to serve this movement with a project of prayer in which we lay before Christ the physical, mental, and spiritual toll the pandemic has taken on us and on those we love.
On Friday, June 19, we will celebrate the great feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this day we recall that Our Lord, wounded for love of us, embraces our wounds with his loving acceptance and his power to heal. This year more than ever, we need to surrender our beat up selves to the physician of souls. To this end, please join us in a Novena of prayer beginning on June 11 and concluding on the feast itself. The general intention for the novena will be for the healing of the wounds left by Covid-19 in each of us, and in us all.
How many and varied are these injuries! Sickness has touched many, and the fear of sickness. Caregiving has depleted many of us, as has the inability to give care through so many barriers between people. Isolation has left scars, even as quarantine has created more closeness than some relationships could bear. How many have suffered financially, we will never fully know.
Such are the fresh scars that may mark you and/or those you love. From them you may draw personal intentions to join with the common one I mentioned. These we will be happy to receive. You will find petition slips at the shrine of the Sacred Heart in each of our two churches of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena. There, also, you will find more copies of the holy card.
As you know by now, we will say the novena prayer at Mass during this time, and include in it your petitions.
It will be tempting, I think, to forget the coronavirus and its ill effects as quickly as possible. But taking stock of the damage will lay the firmest foundation for the fullest recovery. If we recognize how much we have been set back it will help us to learn from this immense collective experience. Surely it has lessons to teach us on a variety of social fronts, but also about ourselves and those with whom we have journeyed through these weeks. Getting busy, being social, and making money may obscure the wounds, but not heal them. For this it will be necessary to come before Christ with all the limits of being human on full display and admit that we need a remedy more profound than hard work and healthy living can supply. That such a healing is an offer from Christ is the promise of his Sacred Heart.
Also, humanity being what it is, we will not get over the pandemic with equal speed or equal success. This virus has affected some of us more deeply than others. It will be a work of compassion not to forget those who struggle on the long path back to a fully engaged life in society, work and church. To remember in this way and pray in this way can make us part of the very compassion of Christ, from which we have drunk so deeply over the years.
Here are words you know from St. John’s Gospel; they figure in the Gospel for the Mass of the Sacred Heart.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” John 11: 30
I hope, that in this season, you can accept Christ’s invitation for yourself, and by joining this novena you can become part of his invitation to others.
Summer blessings to you and yours.
Published in our bulletin June 7, 2020
Image: Trinity, “Die Hl. Dreieinigkeit mit Krone” (wohl für einen Kirchenaltar) Öl auf Leinwand, ca. (11)