Make no mistake about it, these are difficult days. The last six months have introduced us to an unforeseen pandemic, closed Churches, race riots, political unrest, destruction of property and division throughout the country. We’ve been asked to quarantine, social distance, cover our faces and even isolate ourselves from our own family and friends. For many, these last six months have brought a great deal of fear, anxiety, confusion, loneliness and suffering, as together (yet distanced), we attempt to navigate what many are calling a “new normal.”
We all respond differently to anxiety and fear, but dare I say, these past few months have been a wake-up call for many of us! It is abundantly clear that God is calling us to double down in prayer during these urgent times. We are being called to take up our crosses and unite our suffering with Jesus’ Passion and Death. In doing so, we are reminded that there is great merit in suffering when it is united to the cross of our Savior.
Doubling down in prayer for me has resulted in a deliberate and scheduled return to daily Mass, more frequent confession, the daily rosary and divine mercy chaplet and as much time as possible spent before the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration. Some days and weeks, these devotions are easily and joyfully embraced and other times I’m presented with greater challenges in “scheduling time for God.” Whether it’s that “pesky” full-time job, commitments at home, or even at times, a lack of desire, zeal or energy, the Lord is patient and always lovingly nudges me and invites me back.
In these last few weeks, more so than ever, the Lord has repeatedly spoken a word to my heart. Perseverance. For me, this word placed on my heart is a beautiful affirmation and reminder of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans and one that gives me great hope, even on the most difficult days. It is God’s way of saying, “I love you. I am with you and I will never abandon you. Keep on, keeping on!!”
Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
Jesus is drawing each of us closer to His Sacred Heart where we never need to be masked or socially distant and where we can surrender all fear and anxiety at His feet. It is in the silence and tender embrace of His Most Sacred Heart where He will restore us, heal us and give us His peace. He reminds us that He is ever close to us and that we never walk alone. These days of pandemic and division will eventually come to an end so let us never take our eyes off of our merciful God. Let us pray for the grace of perseverance as together we march on toward our ultimate Home in Heaven!
By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven. Amen.
(Excerpt from the Chaplet of St. Michael)
Colleen M. Donohoe grew up as a cradle Catholic attending Catholic elementary and high school just North of Boston! Among her many role models in the faith are her beloved parents who this year celebrate 64 years of marriage! Colleen’s older brother, Stephen Donohoe, is an Archdiocesan priest serving as Pastor at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Norwood, MA. Colleen answered God’s call to serve the Church in a variety of ways over the past 23 years but primarily in service to God as an educator in many Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. After spending many years in the classroom as a theology teacher and campus minister, she currently serves as the Associate Superintendent of Catholic Identity and Respect Life Educator for the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic Schools Office. In addition, Colleen is the Boston area scheduling coordinator for international chastity and theology of the body. Colleen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Salem State College and a Master of Arts Degree in Theology and Ministry from St. John’s Seminary Theological Institute in Boston.