A Message from Rev. Mary Stella FSAG, a Provincial in the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. (From her Monthly News Letter, to her Sisters. May 2020)
PENTECOST DURING A PANDEMIC
My Dear Sisters (& Brothers) in Christ Jesus,
Greetings of peace in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour!
During this period of lockdown, it is normal to feel gloomy or unenthusiastic due to the fear and uncertainties caused by the present condition. But we need to remember that we are not just in the ‘season of Lockdown’. We are in the “Season of Easter!”
In spite of the challenges we face during this period of quarantine, it is so inspiring and encouraging to see our sisters thriving in our charism of love and our option for the poor. I congratulate all our sisters and communities who have rendered a lot of charitable service like distributing food, groceries, medical and monetary aid to the most affected people around our institutions, with necessary permissions and precautions. It very much resembles what our Blessed Mother did when she realized that Elizabeth was in need of help. She even took a dangerous and tiring trip of almost 130 kilometers, to reach the hill country, while she herself was pregnant and in a tough situation. (MAY 31ST FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY).
This month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Mother, and on the 13th of this month we celebrate the feast of OUR LADY OF FATIMA. And the second Sunday of this month is observed as INTERNATIONAL MOTHER’S DAY. Let us honor our dear Blessed Mother with our May devotions, daily rosaries, novenas and hymns and at the same time promising her to follow her footsteps to do our best in supporting those who are in need of our help. And there is a tradition in our Catholic Church, known as ‘May Crowning’, wherein we have a solemn prayer service and the ritual of crowning our Blessed Mother. As we crown our Blessed Mother, Let us pray to her that she may intercede to God to remove the crown (‘corona’ meaning crown), of pandemic from the world.
During this Easter season, we commemorate and celebrate great events that took place, especially in the ‘lockdown period’ in the lives of the Apostles. It is during the ‘lockdown period’, of the apostles that the Risen Lord appeared to them a couple times. And once, Thomas the Apostle did not follow the lockdown rules of the team, and missed the visit of the Lord, but later when he joined the other apostles who were under ‘lockdown’, he experienced the vision of the Risen Christ. Another great event and the most important experience in the lives of the apostles and the Blessed Mother, that happened during this lockdown, was ‘Pentecost’ (FEAST OF PENTECOST, MAY 31ST ).
The very incarnation and life of Jesus Christ on this earth was a kind of a ‘lockdown’ or ‘Quarantine’ he accepted with obedience, and confined himself to this planet Earth. The completion of his ‘lockdown period’ on this earth, is what we celebrate as his Ascension into heaven, reassuming his glory with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. (MAY 24TH, THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD). The Ascension of the Lord, happens at the completion of his ‘lockdown period’ and the Descent of the Holy Spirit occurs during the lockdown period of the Apostles. But once they receive the Holy Spirit, they are prepared to fulfill the Lord’s commission, before his Ascension (Mathew 28: 19, 20 ), and receive the courage and confidence to go to the whole world and preach the Good news.
On the 14th of this month, we celebrate the FEAST OF SAINT MATTHIAS, the Apostle. He was chosen in place of Judas. He joined the team of apostles much later, but still the Holy Spirit filled him with his power, just as He did with the other Apostles. With genuine prayer and total surrender, we can be blessed with the mercy of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit.
On the 1st of this month we celebrate the feast of ST. JOSEPH. All his dreams and vision of the angels are basically the initiatives, instructions and inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and St. Joseph totally surrendered and was obedient to the Holy Spirit and his guidance. Let us pray to this great saint, Saint Joseph the Worker, in a special way, for all the workers around the world, who have lost their jobs and job opportunities and face a huge financial challenge during this time.
Today, the face of the whole world looks gloomy and is dreadfully wounded. The Holy Spirit can renew the face of the earth and bless us with peace and joy, and with all the gifts and fruits of His Spirit. Let us keep praying for the world and for all humanity.
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth !
O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord.” Amen.
God Bless you All!
Yours in Christ,
Sr. S. M. Stella, FSAG