On September 19, 2013, Pope Francis used a phrase that is very timely today: "I see the church as a field hospital…". Why I remembered that line many years ago, what a prophetic image for us today.
Pope Francis' image of our church during this Covid-19 brought my imagination for our "field hospital." Doing so, I will be offering those in our spiritual journey as a priest.
To start, I think about prioritizing, prioritizing, prioritizing! For instance, is national news needed right now? Nope. How about Facebook beyond a new way of evangelization? Nope. How about small issues in my life? Once again, no! Please, prioritize your life, especially as we are experiencing challenges, staying home for many weeks, new spiritual directions, distance learning for children, and more.
Again, Pope Francis spoke about our church to look first to those with triage situations. For me, I must take the time and place to support those who are close to death. Whether this is in a hospital, nursing home, or someone's home, that is one of my prioritization. I must pray and quickly analyze via the Anointing of the Sick, confession, and their last communion (or viaticum, which means "food for the journey"). As a priest, that was, and still is, a triage, number one.
My next focus is to see who God puts to me for His mission. These may occur in many ways, which keeps each day different. Some have tough times in their lives or seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or those who need some encouragement and prayers.
Typically, my next level would be the day-to-day opportunities for my vocation: Mass, checking up with our team, discerning ways to seek growth for our parishes and school, communication with you, community members, our diocesan supporters and more.
Finally, we each need to find time to seek God's peace in our lives. For me, this consists with a nap every day since my stroke, time to pray, time to exercise, time to catch up with my family and friends. To all the above, I seek God's mission, and while sometimes this fills my plate, which leads to stress, I need to discern how to stay healthy to succeed what God has asked me to do.
Once again, another weekend to check in via my bulletin, and let's continue to walk minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and hope we may come back together at the best time: Mass!