As we pass the one-year mark in stunned remembrance of the 565,000 souls lost to Covid-19, perhaps Fr. Michael Joncas’ hymn, “Shelter Me” may be a soothing balm for our collective sorrow. Our lives will be forever touched.
You can find this moving hymn on YouTube by entering search criteria: Shelter Me by Michael Joncas / Recorded by Spiritu during the time of COVID-19.
“Nothing matters now but the highest reaches of human attainment. Nothing but the finest is adequate. We must respond enthusiastically to that alert which calls us to move into the highest reaches of heart, mind, body and soul.”
Many years ago, Herman Adrian Spruit, Patriarch and founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch taught:
“Prayer is the primary process by which you learn to align your desires, your life’s purpose, and your life plans, and work them out in cooperation with [God] … Prayer cleanses, chastens our desires, realizes them, so you can no longer tell where your desires begin to overlap with God’s.”
In these Advent days, we are filled with hope in preparation for the two-fold coming of Christ: the historical Lord in the Child at Christmas and our personal meeting of the Lord at the “2nd coming”– whether that “end-time” be at our own deaths or our internal awakening to Christ’s eternal presence in our lives, here and now. Pope Francis shares what he finds as key to preparation for this “coming”- “letting your minds and heart overflow with people in conflict, people in suffering”.
“You see faces looking for life and love in the reality of each person, of each people. You see hope written in the story of every nation, glorious because it’s a story of daily struggle, of lives broken in self-sacrifice. So rather than overwhelm you, it invites you to ponder and to respond with hope. These are moments in life that can be ripe for change and conversion…a crisis that reveals what is in our hearts… what is revealed is what needs to change: our lack of internal freedom, the idols we have been serving, the ideologies we have tried to live by, the relationships we have neglected.”
“In lockdown I’ve often gone in prayer to those who sought all means to save the lives of others. So many of the nurses, doctors and caregivers paid that price of love, together with priests, and religious and ordinary people whose vocations were service. We return their love by grieving for them and honoring them… They are the antibodies to the virus of indifference. They remind us that our lives are a gift and we grow by giving of ourselves, not preserving ourselves but losing ourselves in service.”
“To come out of this crisis better, we have to recover the knowledge that as a people we have a shared destination. The pandemic has reminded us that no one is saved alone. What ties us to one another is what we commonly call solidarity. Solidarity is more than acts of generosity, important as they are; it is the call to embrace the reality that we are bound by bonds of reciprocity. On this solid foundation we can build a better, different, human future.”
From the New York Times Opinion Article Essay on November 26th, 2020, titled Pope Francis: A Crisis Reveals What Is in Our Hearts. -an essay adapted from his new book “Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future,” with Austen Ivereigh.
1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.[a]
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
In The Sacrament of the Present Moment and Abandonment to Divine Providence, Jesuit priest Jean-Pierre de Caussade reminds us that “ Each moment of our lives requires us to do our duty, the duty of the moment, and each moment is precious and holds some divinely appointed purpose”.
We need to “offer God our heart and our will, do our duties faithfully, let go of outcomes, and let God surprise us”…“He speaks joy to the mundane and purpose amidst chaos.”
“We must accept what we often cannot avoid, and endure with love and resignation things which could cause us weariness and disgust. This is what it means to be holy.” “…to open our heart and trust that in each plan that doesn’t go according to our hopes, God has something even better in store.”
“If we have abandoned ourselves to God, there’s only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment.” “What does this moment ask of me?” is always the right question.
“One of our great problems is to see clearly what we have to resist. I would say that at the moment we have to understand better than we do the cold-war mentality. If we do not understand it, we will run the risk of contributing to its confusions and thereby helping the enemies of man and of peace. The great danger is that under the pressures of anxiety and fear, the alternation of crisis and relaxation and new crisis, the people of the world will come to accept gradually the idea of war, the idea of submission to total power, and the abdication of reason, spirit and individual conscience. The great peril of the cold war is the progressive deadening of conscience.”
– Thomas Merton, The Hidden Ground of Love. (p. 325-6)
Perhaps these words of ring as true today as they did in 1962. May we guard against the deadening of our conscience by daily returning to the Divine Source of all Wisdom in the silence of contemplation.
Amidst the suffering in which we are all immersed, we constantly question what is “ours to do”. Fr. Keating’s words help us understand the transformative process which must take place within ourselves so as to “call forth” the Christ in every situation.
“We are all localized vibrations of the infinite goodness of God’s Presence. So love is our very nature…The effectiveness of social action depends upon the source from which it springs…The contemplative state, like the vocation of Mary, brings Christ into this world.” -Fr.Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart
….. It is never too late. Ours is the gospel of the ultimate chance. We are living at a time when our towns are dark, when our lives are dark with something other than night. But the light at the end of the tunnel spells out the dream of Hope. It proclaims the story that it’s love that turns on the light inside us and our world.
We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.To fulfill this promise, we are in the process of reviewing our site to adhere as closely as possible to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines explain how to make web content more accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us provide a site that is accessible to all our site visitors.This website utilizes various technologies that are incorporated to make it more accessible.What Are We Presently Doing to Make our Website More Usable for People With Disabilities?
We utilize an interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs. This interface replaces the older fashioned method of providing all users with the same, lesser but accessible design or user interface. Some of the interface’s capabilities are Font handling, Color Handling and more
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level by resolving HTML issues:
Identify the Site’s Language in Header Code
Label All Images on the Website with Descriptions of the Image (Alt-Tags)
Fix Empty Links, so Website is Easier to Use
Remove Empty Headings
Remove Empty Form Labels
Fix Menu Broken ARIA
Fix Missing Form Labels
Handling NoScript Elements
Handling Autoplay Attributes
Additional capabilities are being researched and added as timing and budget allow
Interface to Adjust the Website’s UI
High Contrast Mode
Dark Contrast Mode
Font Size Adjustment
Big Mouse Cursor
Our efforts are ongoing as ADA standards and guidelines may change, or we may find additional compliance items that need to be edited on our website.Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, and/or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible.