This time of quarantine brings with it a laundry list of emotions. Some days are filled with joy-the kids play nicely together, my husband and I get our work done with little interruption, and no one complains about dinner. Other days do not go as smoothly-the kids are all craving attention at the exact moment my husband and I are on work calls, mean words are said, and tempers are lost. Most days fall somewhere in the middle, just as pre-quarantine days did. While I am saddened by the reason we are forced to stay in our homes, good has come from our time spent together as a family. We are no longer rushing from one event to the next. While we are still dividing our time between work obligations and schoolwork, most afternoons allow for leisurely family walks or bike rides, and bedtime is less rushed with additional stories and new prayers. But, even during these moments of joy, and with the gift of extra time due to COVID-19, I cannot help but feel a sadness- people all over the world are becoming ill from this extremely contagious virus. Our overly busy lives came to a screeching halt because of a worldwide virus that we have no control over.
It seems only natural to compare these feelings to Lent since we are only in the third week of Easter. As Becky mentioned last week, it feels as though we are spending a little more time in Holy Saturday. The state of our world makes it not quite feel like Easter. I invite us to not take this Holy Saturday time for granted. It is a time of sorrowful joy. I am deeply grateful for so many things right now-my immediate family is healthy, our parents and grandparents are healthy, my husband and I both still have our jobs and have the luxury of working from home, and we get to spend our days safely in our home with our four amazing children. And while all of this brings me great joy, I cannot help but feel a sadness. My heart aches for all those who have died, for those who are suffering alone, and for their loved ones. I am sad for those who have lost their jobs and for businesses that are closed. I am sad my brother wasn’t able to visit for Easter and that we haven’t been able to see my in-laws. I miss going to Mass. I miss being able to work without kids underfoot. I am sad my kids are missing the end of their school year, their friends, and their activities. I find myself simultaneously feeling joy and gratitude for the good in my life, and heartache and sadness for the suffering our world is facing. Maybe you, too, are experiencing this sorrowful joy?
We have become so accustomed to a fast paced, instant gratification life, we want-and expect-to feel the Easter Sunday joy immediately. I will be the first to admit that patience is not one of my strongest points. I remember when I was younger my Dad telling me, “Patience is a virtue.” Without a thought, I would respond, “Yes, a virtue I do not have!” Easter is here, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to leave Holy Saturday and feel the Easter joy now!
When I find myself feeling impatient for Easter joy to be here sooner than it seems to be arriving, I turn to the prayer Patient Trust by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ:
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
I hope this prayer helps you in the moments you are wanting Easter joy to be here already. It is okay if we are still lingering in Holy Saturday. These Holy Saturday moments invite us to be patient, and as de Chardian says, “trust in the slow work of God.” While we may be experiencing these moments of sorrowful joy, let us not forget the ways God has made God’s self known during this pandemic-communities have joined together to feed the less fortunate, to make masks for our front line workers, and to support small businesses in ways we have not before. When the state of our world causes us to feel sorrow, let us thank God for empathy and ask God to give us the graces of peace, strength, and endurance to get through this trying time.
As we lean on the slow work of the Resurrection entering our lives, let us remember to cling to what we do know. We know Jesus rose. We know that Easter joy is available to us. We know we can be filled with joy once again. As we patiently wait for Easter joy, let us embrace the moments of sorrowful joy and remember to trust in the slow work of God.
Pray with Week 7 of the Ignatian Prayer Adventure: The Suffering Jesus
- Scriptures to pray with: Resurrection gospels
- Prayer Tool Tuesday – Each Tuesday at 4:30 pm Central via Zoom – Gather with my dear friend Stephanie Clouatre Davis and I this week, April 28, in learning a new prayer tool. Follow my Facebook page for details.
- Wanting a directed retreat? Wanting more prayer support during this time? The retreat directors from the Online Busy Person’s Retreat are happy to extend the invitation of an online busy person’s retreat on your schedule – meeting online with a spiritual director for one hour a day for four-days. If interested, email email@example.com with the four days and timeframe you have available and we will work to match you with a director.
- Visit my Spiritual Support webpage with more resources during this unprecedented time of COVID-19 and follow me on Facebook & Instagram for daily scripture inspiration and for the latest resources.
REGISTER NOW! Overwhelmed No More Online Retreat: A Community Journey Towards Peace
- There are only 6 days left to register!! Join me on a six-week online retreat to help us create space to intentionally pause, pray, discern, and embrace a path of abundant hope, peace, and purpose. Registration is open to journey through this retreat as a community – starting May 4. Join us here!
- What people are saying: This retreat has helped me allow God to be in control of what I do next, to be happy where I am, and not try and pre-empt God’s plans for me. In other words, to live in the moment. – Barbara Delafield, Westhoughton, UK
The Inner Chapel: My New Book!
- My new book, The Inner Chapel: Embracing the Promises of God is now available! As a sincere “Thank You!” to all of you for your support, my publisher has extended a 30% off code for orders and preorders through August 13. Simply go to Loyolapress.com/innerchapel and use promo code 5207. You can also pre-order from Barnes and Noble and from Amazon for Kindle and paperback.
- SHARE WITH US: We would LOVE to see a picture of your reading The Inner Chapel. Please post a picture of you enjoying the book on your social media and tag my Becky Eldredge page on facebook or @beldredge98 on Instagram or Twitter.
- Becky talks suffering and The Inner Chapel on The God Show with Pat McMahon
- Read an excerpt from The Inner Chapel: My chapter called Suffering Makes us Compassionate is perfect for all that is going on in the world currently.