You can imagine my joy at being able to celebrate mass with you again. God has blessed me to come home. In the darkness of my sleepless nights at the hospital I had to face the question of whether my life was complete. “I have had 85 wonderful years,” I said to the Lord, “and if you want me to complete my life, I am at peace. But I know I would like to recover, to continue to serve you and the people a little while longer.”
The doctors and nurses were wonderful. I did ask if I were being selfish taking a bed that could go to someone else, but they reassured me their vocation was to help to heal anyone who came to them. One specialist was so open. I asked him how he felt about being so skilled in medicine. He said, “I feel blessed.” That simple. That is what I met in my two weeks in the hospital and I gradually came to know the Lord’s answer: you are going home.
I came home. The wonderful care has continued – your prayers, letters, emails and cards, good wishes, phone calls and the daily nursing care. Stage one is complete. Stage two, I can return to the altar and share the wonder of the mass with you. Stage three, and we are part of a new development in the life of the Church where being the “church at home” will become the norm for many many people.
People are returning to God and the faith in the quiet of their homes when they have been away from actual church buildings for many years. God is calling in a new way and we are hearing the call clearly. “You belong, whoever and wherever you are. We are God’s people, united in looking forward to a new age of the home church – a community of God’s people in every part of the world.
God will guide us. Love, mercy, new understanding, a sense of prayerful community around the Church and world. The Gospel to all peoples in this new age is happening in a new way. God is blessing us to be part of this new way of being Church.
But, the world still knows much sadness, hatreds, injustices, greed, unfaithfulness, poverty and anguish. Every day the news bulletins are full of personal suffering and the courage of those who are trying to lovingly cope – those willing to help in any way, in every place.
The saints are there because God has called them to be there, bringing healing, food, shelter, trying to bring peace. We are at one with these saints ready to be martyrs, suffering for their people, and strangers, in every part of the world.
Each of us is part of a world to be healed. Each of us can love and inspire others to love. Church buildings can’t do it – the human heart does it.
God, bless and guide us,
(23rd August 2020)