During this very difficult month I found it difficult to find the peace of mind to write an article. I was juggling more anxiety than usual. I had my children and husband home much more than usual. And while it is a blessing to have my loved ones close by in these scary times, it does also present unique challenges. The unique challenge of trying to keep people entertained and on task while not being able to move about freely. The unique challenge of having everyone’s usual routine upset. The unique challenge of moving forward in courage while there is fear. The unique challenge of having lots of uncertainty, and still needing to choose a path or direction. The unique challenge of having a life and death situation on your doorstep daily.
We are not accustomed to this sort of daily trauma. Each person handles this threat differently, from head in the sand, to blaming others, to fearing and creating conspiracies, to despair, and then others are searching for solutions, creating new paths, serving their fellow man, or simply following the directions given by the myriads of authorities giving guidelines and orders.
My variable emotions, and that of my children was and is still difficult to navigate. We are all in this very very steep learning curve from all angles. We are learning that the models set forth are not always accurate, and that in many ways is Divine Mercy. Some models predicted a certain percentage of people would die by a certain time period, others predicts that curves and peaks would occur at different points. Some of those models were closer than others in accuracy. We are such a large nation, and we have a wide variety of personalities that either follow the recommendations or do not. I believe that much that is happening is part of God’s Divine Mercy. While I do not believe that God sent a pandemic to kill many, I do believe that God allows consequences to happen. In addition, God does allow evil to happen. Evil happens through peoples’ action and inaction.
When I started praying various novenas in February, we started with one to the Little Flower, St Thérèse of Lisieux, then moving on to the coronavirus novena. We prayed the Rosary with the Holy Father and the whole world on March 19 as he requested. In addition, we participated in the Pope’s Urbi et Orbi blessing.
God turns everything for good. I started praying to God, “What is the next novena that you want me to pray, Lord?” I felt that I was to pray the Divine Mercy Novena as given to Saint Faustina. It is my pleasure and peace to pray this daily with my husband. I keep looking for God’s message in all these happenings. My children show confusion at all that is happening. They do fear that God has abandoned us at times. I try to explain things in a spiritual way. For Palm Sunday, we all watched the portion of the Jesus movie covering the time of the Last Supper, suffering in the garden, through his Passion, death, and resurrection.
Gradually over time, some of my children asked more and more spiritual questions. They had a true seeking. Where before they were too busy to desire to speak of such things, I found a new opening in them. Our family is gradually accepting this new normal; we are coming to a new peace through the challenges. We spend more time in discussions on how to be a more loving couple. My daughter and I took a few solo walks and had this special time together. On one of our rainy-day walks, we searched for the sun to peek through the clouds. To our delight it peeked through for one glorious instant, practically blinding me as I was driving home. We pulled over trying to see the sun again, but instead we saw a beautiful end-to-end rainbow above a church. The image I have included here for you is not as glorious as the end-to-end panoramic I was able to capture, but the rainbow sure was the highlight of our outing. It was as if God knew how difficult our struggle as community is, and had sent many rainbows to remind us of His Mercy.
I remembered the flood of Noah’s time, where there was much destruction, and in the end a new earth. The flood and ensuing rainbow is a reminder of God’s warnings and mercy. We have been enduring weeks and weeks of rain here, along with the flood of disastrous news of virus caused deaths daily. Currently the US is at its all-time high death rate from the virus, and we are enduring the most constrained situations of being on lockdown. In my area, the aisles of grocery stores are now only unidirectional, and a limited number of people is allowed in stores at one time. We have been told to stay home for the next two weeks, as the peak of the virus approaches. The trails for walks are closed and monitored. The police have added hundreds of “Do Not Park Anytime” signs up and down our coastal communities and neighborhoods.
We each have our experience of the coronavirus. Each experience is unique and yet shared globally. Some are at home alone. Many have left their families and homes to go to the hospital. They are alone, and may or may not ever come home. Many go, and die without their loved ones. Many await burial. Yet despite this cross that we are carrying both individually, and as a global community, we know that there is hope in the cross and Resurrection. We know that God always makes good on his promises. Below are a few of those biblical promises.
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being. (Genesis 9:13-15)
When you pass through waters, I will be with you;
through rivers, you shall not be swept away.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,
nor will flames consume you. (Isaiah 43:2)
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
In addition to the biblical promises we also have the promises made to Saint Faustina regarding his unfathomable mercy.
Promises for Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this Chaplet. Write down these words, my daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize my unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of my mercy; let them profit from the blood and water which gushed forth for them. (Diary, 848)
Say unceasingly the Chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it, they will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy (Diary, 687).
As I stated earlier, I felt called to start the Divine Mercy novena. Shortly after starting, I realized that this novena is normally started on Good Friday (I had started a few days prior), as Divine Mercy Sunday will be April 19, 2020, and the novena is to end on that Sunday. I pray that the hope of God’s promises of Mercy will help to carry you as we await the goodness that only God can create out of calamity. Call on His Mercy, and rely on His Mercy. In addition we must accept that God’s Mercy doesn’t always take the form we envision it to take. Open our eyes, Lord, to your Mercy. Open our hearts to desire your Mercy.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
Copyright 2020 Marya Hayes Images copyright 2020 Marya Hayes, all rights reserved. Divine Mercy image: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY SA 4.0
About the Author
Marya Hayes is mother to 3 active teens and is a military spouse. Her days consist of running the household and her mini business, and driving her teens daily all over the planet. Her favorite saints include St Francis de Sales, Saint Benedict, Padre Pio, and JPII. Marya enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with the family outdoors. Pray, hope, and don’t worry!