On Tuesday 26 May, at various times around the globe, 120 participants from the Edmund Rice network, from 15 counties came together for a profound on-line experience. The webinar was focused around input from Edwina Gately; whose message was clear; that this Covid 19 ‘pause’ in our lives is our Wake Up! call from God.
Edwina was introduced by Cathy Harrison from New Zealand after we had heard from Evona Rebola, long standing friend of the network who is the Director of Catholic education in the Western Cape, South Africa. We had time in break out rooms to meet some of our fellow participants from India, South America, Australia and the US. The connections across the international network continue to be strengthened under the enforced lock-down of Covid 19.
Edwina called us to ask ‘what is all this about?’ ‘why are we being asked to stay home?’ She questioned whether this situation is the energy in the universe forcing us to stop the destruction of our earth and our own health; is this God’s way of making us live differently, in ways we maybe do not like. She spoke of the ecological armageddon that our generation has produced with its selfish ravaging of the earth and how we find ourselves on the brink of destruction. Her message though was one of hope; that this situation can change if we change, if we listen, during this pause, to God and what he is asking of us. It is giving ‘our souls a time to catch up’. We are being forced to live ‘in’ and more deeply and respond to the question – ‘what can I do to change things for the better?’
We are called to take time out, time to ponder and be disconnected from the constant society and communication of our old ‘busy’ lives for a reason; to redress the imbalance in nature and social justice. It is divine energy that is forcing us to look at other possibilities and a spirituality to discover what we can do.
She urged us to think when we are distressed, frustrated and angry during this social isolation – what is the message in this?
Like the hermits of old; we are being taken away from society and given time to stop! reflect and connect with our own souls at a deeper level. Let’s allow God to infiltrate the business of our lives.
The comments that were fed back from participants at the end of the session were amazing; Edwina’s words certainly touched us all very deeply and echoed our sense of needing to find new and better ways of being after this situation.
O God, we thank you for the life of Edmund Rice.
He opened his heart to Christ present in those oppressed by poverty and injustice.
May we follow his example of faith and generosity.
Grant us the courage and compassion of Edmund as we seek to live lives of love and service.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.