A Letter from Father Tom April 26th

Dear Parish Family,

The other day I received this simple Prayer, called Remember. I invite you to pray it now with me.

REMEMBER

O Lord; remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will.

But, do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted upon us;

Instead, remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering-

Our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity,

The greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble.

When our persecutors come to be judged by you,

Let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

Anonymous- Found in the clothing of a dead child at Ravens Bruck
Concentration Camp: From the Prayers of the Martyrs compiled and translated
– By Duane W.H. Arnold; Forward by Madeleine L’Eng

I was moved by the merciful heart of this child. Last Sunday, this was sent to me from a former parishioner from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Shrub Oak, where I was a parochial Vicar in the mid B0’s. It was no coincidence, but a God-incidence that I received this on the Feast of Divine Mercy. I am grateful for the magnanimous heart of Jesus for us all. I was also able to listen to Father David Rider’s homily. He had celebrated Mass at 10AM and I at 11AM last Sunday. It was brilliant as usual.

What is so encouraging to me is that as difficult as this time is, isn’t it wonderful that we now live in a digital age, where we can share Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, and all the means of making ourselves present despite Social Distancing. I am reminded when I pray each day of the heroism that is to be found in our nursing homes and hospitals. But I heard one person who works there tell me, that although it is tough and the level of grief is high, they feel that they are called to be angels of mercy to the ones who are sick and isolated from their families. Yet, it’s also in the random acts of kindness, the bowl of soup sent over, the phone call from Costco or Stop n Shop, asking, “While I am here, do you need anything? I can pick it up for you!”. I am also aware of the domestic heroines and heroes that not only take care of their children’s schoolwork and homework, but also find the time to do their own computer work and manage a household full of chores. Things have ramped up with people now having to wear face coverings and masks .and keep six feet social distance.

All these interruptions of our freedom, our trying to comply with health and safety regulations point out clearly that we are not in control. We don’t like uncertainty, the ability to plan ahead. If you have been as frustrated as I, you may have heard yourself say to others, “I just don’t know when …. “This week would have been traditionally the time we celebrate First Holy Communions. This past Saturday and the next, would have been the special time to fill our church, three times over with sweet cherubic faces, coming to receive Jesus. I was hoping that by the time that the Feast of Corpus Christi, 6 weeks from now, we would be having 1st Holy Communions but now it seems we have to wait until September. Not knowing is part of the sacrificial suffering, we are going through. I am praying for yours and my patience.

In the meantime, let us walk with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus. Like the disciples downcast in grief and sadness, we are told in Luke’s Account, there were prevented from truly seeing Jesus with them. It wasn’t until the Risen Lord Jesus went into their shelter, and stayed with them and when it was time to bless the food before Him, He Blessed, Broke and Gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened. This is the
formula for living daily the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We, too, will be blessed, broken (many times) and Given to others. Before that moment, Jesus explained how Scripture was fulfilled in his passion, suffering, death and now Resurrection. May you too, no matter what you are feeling and experiencing, come to recognize Jesus’ presence with you. He is always near, even closer to us that the air we breathe (behind those temporary masks). I am praying for you and asking our merciful and Risen Lord to once again, flood your heart with light, fire and peace.

Fr. Tom Devery