I have received several emails from people these past two weeks asking me write about this virus crisis. One person asked me if I had any “special insights” into how to heal it and when it will end and what about the economy?
How do I even begin to address the epic we are living together? Something much bigger, much more profound, is reshaping our lives right now. That heaven is always acting behind the scenes of our lives, hidden in the small details, is true whether we are in the midst of chaos or calm. But only when chaos hits do we stop, look towards the heavens, and wonder, “What’s going on?”
As always, the words of Teresa of Avila come to mind in some way. She always taught her nuns, “With God, all things are possible.” Of course, Teresa was referring to the powerful alchemy of personal faith and Divine intervention, a union of forces capable of defeating any earthly obstacle. I have wondered in these past days if Teresa ever considered another meaning of those now famous words of hers.
That is, who ever thought that in the same year we would experience a cluster of events, all of which we would previously have considered impossible: The massive fires that engulfed Australia, a global pandemic resulting in nations shutting down and a global economic crisis. Who would have thought two weeks ago that we would be facing the possibility – if not probability – of being quarantined in our homes for at least a couple of weeks?
When lots of things go haywire in my own life in a condensed period of time, like all the electronics in my home blowing out the same day as my car broke down and so on, that’s when I stop and ask, “What? What are You doing? Everything is a mess and only You could create such a massive breakdown. I don’t know one human being talented enough to disrupt my life this much. So, you now have my attention.”
In my younger days, which are getting further and further away, I took the easy way out and screamed at someone – anyone. I just had to let off steam and I usually wasn’t particular about whose head I bit off. Eventually, as I grew to understand the weave of the Divine in our lives, and the presence of God in the small details, disruption became a call to prayer for me. Or, rather, it was my signal that my attention was needed more on my inner world than my outer.
With God, all things are possible, even the unthinkable and unimaginable. And we are now living through the unfolding of unthinkable, unimaginable events and challenges. Buddha taught – and emphasized – that all the substance we think is so real in life can evaporate in a second because we are the engines (my word, not Buddha’s), of all that we are looking at and all we experience. Everything is constant change in motion. Nothing stands still. Life changes in the blink of an eye.
So, it does. And so, it is. And it is these truths that we are actually living, by the moment, by the hour. Every hour brings us news of something we never thought could happen – such as all the restaurants in the State of Illinois closing down, or all the flights to Europe cancelled, or college classes shifting to online courses until further notice. Just like that, we are in a new world.
And none of us, absolutely none of us knows how this epic-sized event will unfold. But one thing is certain – all of our lives are about to change. They are already changing. We have become so accustomed to telling ourselves, “Oh, this or that could never happen – at least not here.” Maybe we need to release that illusion – and fast. Everything can – and just might – happen here.
Anytime our lives change, we want and need to know what to do next. Uncertainty is nerve-wrecking. But no one can offer any clear advice, at least not on the “earthly” plane. And so, we need to turn elsewhere. This is what I did, I am going to invite all of you to do the same thing in your own way.
Chaos wakes up our vulnerabilities, among them our need to be connected to a network or community of people we know and love. But communities don’t just appear out of nowhere. One of the great missing links of our time is community life. That said, I sent out an email to my close friends the other day inviting them to join a Rosary Prayer Circle. (I suggested praying in whatever devotion they prefer). For several of us, using the rosary or prayer beads is familiar to our traditions. We have agreed to join in prayer at 3:00 pm CST every Friday and on Thursday, to send to our collective group our personal prayer requests for that week, such as healing or guidance.
You are more than welcomed to join in this Rosary Prayer circle. I was inspired to specifically start a rosary circle because I grew up praying the rosary. There is a calmness to repetitive holy prayers structured around beads. Many traditions use prayer beads. Earlier this year, I received a manuscript to endorse entitled, The Way of the Rose, by Clark Strand and Perdita Finn. In this book, Clark speaks of having a vision of the Madonna who instructed him to pray the rosary, which Our Lady describes as her “garden of roses”. She says that when we pray the rosary, she meets us all in that garden of roses.
But this prayer circle is not about the rosary. It is about gathering us together in prayer as a committed devotion, praying in any way you want – but praying together. There is only one Divine Being – and God has no religion whatsoever. We do. There is no such thing as a Catholic God or a Jewish God or a Muslim God, etc. We created religions. This prayer circle is not about any religious tradition. Any form of prayer is welcomed.
This prayer circle is about our living, breathing connection to each other. We need to start living the sacred truths that All Life Breathes Together and that we really do co-create our realities. It’s time we do that together with prayer as our means. Teresa of Avila referred to the “power of prayer” as God’s greatest weapon. It’s difficult to grasp that power – how it “works”, how prayers are answered, and so on. All that is a matter of faith.
But Teresa of Avila was right, you know. With God, all things are possible – even the sudden shift of a world so familiar to us, even a global pandemic, even the breakdown of the economy. But what are these events preparing us for? Only God could act so swiftly – redirecting humanity and nature at the same time. We have spent decades – decades – learning that we co-create our realities and that we are all one. Maybe the moment has come to co-create reality together. Prayer joins us on our “inner-net” – like the Internet but faster and far more “conscious”. And because “all things are possible” with God, the power of prayer released through the outpouring of grace generates an atmosphere ripe with miracles. Life can heal in the blink of an eye.
Stay safe out there, everyone. What an extraordinary time we are sharing.
Love and blessings to all of you,
Please join our Rosary Circle prayer group on Facebook
This prayer circle is devoted to prayer and to creating a network of grace that can help sustain every person in some way. The power of prayer grows as more souls unite together in prayer. Sharing your prayer requests are therefore encouraged. Please send in your prayer requests … and please avoid any political commentary or promotion of any kind.
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