CACINA

A reflection from the Saint Charles of Brazil Parish

If you would like to have a reflection considered for publication, please send your writing to Bp. Tony Green at revtonygreen@gmail.com

Reflection written by Alice Jo Weaver – St. Charles of Brazil Parish

The Gift of Abundance

As this pandemic extends into yet another month, it is easy to slip into boredom, despair, depression, even for the most optimistic among us.  Embracing the gift of God’s abundance becomes an intentional exercise in living in an awareness of the present moment.  God’s Kingdom is a place of abundance where every generous act overflows its original bounds and becomes part of the unbounded grace of God at work in the World. (Henri JM Nouwen)

In my purpose driven life, it is important for me to look beyond my frustrations and focus instead on the inventive sharing of the gift of my abundance with the greater community.  Early on I found purpose and a new “routine” by making masks and offering them to family, friends, and ultimately in weekly donations to a local hospital.  Materials for the masks are in great demand and difficult to find.  As a quilter I tapped into my abundance of scrap fabric and elastic to produce masks to help keep those in the greater community safe.

Recently, encouraged by an e-mail invitation from Bishop Tony to a Zoom gathering for “praying and sharing”, I tuned in to the session facilitated by Mother Monica Kennedy.  She focused our attention on abundance during these unprecedented times.  In the days following this Zoom event my thoughts kept returning to the word “abundance”.  Prayer and reflection opened my eyes to other resourceful gifts of abundance.   For example, the Abundance of thoughtfulness as reflected through the Parish Life Ministry at St. Charles of Brazil.  Since the pandemic keeps us physically separated from our faith community, this Ministry actively seeks ways to reach out in ways that serve practical, basic needs; spiritual enrichment; and lighthearted, socially-distanced events.  Through a phone tree, we learned of the need for short-term assistance from several of our parishioners.  We worked together to assist and empower them towards satisfactory resolutions to these challenges.  In addition, St. Charles offers an abundance of outreach via virtual fellowship offered after live-streaming Sunday Mass which enables our parish family to continue to know and stay connected to one another in a different way.

In an abundance of creativity, the Parish Life Ministry offered a Zoom Coronavirus Bingo (complete with white elephant prizes).  We also delivered Summer Solstice gift bags to every family, each containing a Blessing Jar.  Families were encouraged to fill these jars with written acknowledgements of the abundance of God’s blessings.

An abundance of faithfulness is evident as we continue the Lectio Divina series on the first three  Mondays of each month.  These evenings encourage us to Read (Lectio) Reflect (Meditatio) Respond (Oratio) and Rest (Contemplatio) using the Sunday Gospel.  We pray and reflect on the impact of God’s Words in these Scripture passages and the personal messages each participant hears in his/her heart.

 

The activities cited go a long way in strengthening our sense of a loving and supportive family community despite pandemic restrictions.  These unprecedented times may have turned our lives upside down for right now but the gift of God’s abundance challenges and empowers us to carry on in  our mission of service to others and to spread God’s love whenever and wherever we can.  God has no hands but ours.

 

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  1Cor. 9:6-7

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