by ACN  International
Adapted by Amanda Griffin, ACN Canada
Published online May 29, 2020

During his extraordinary moment of prayer and Urbi et Orbi blessing, “for the city and the whole world,” Pope Francis said: “Like the disciples in the Gospel, we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”

This is a time of communion – the Communion of the Saints, a communion of love.

“For none of us lives for himself and none of us dies for himself,” writes Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans (14:7). Starting in Asia, sweeping across Europe, engulfing America – like a slow-motion tsunami, the wave of suffering has overwhelmed the countries of our benefactors, prompting a counter-wave of love from all over the world: “We are praying and keeping vigil for the doctors, their patients and all those who are now fighting for their lives,” write the contemplative Redemptorist Sisters in Lviv, Ukraine. Along with the Carmelite Sisters in Sarajevo, in Bosnia, they thank all our benefactors and are “praying for God’s mercy for all who are suffering during this time, especially those infected with the coronavirus and all who are fearful and fighting for their lives.”

Bulgaria—Franciscan Friars at prayer.

From the ruins of the earthquake in Haiti, and of the bombing in Aleppo, from the convent cells of the Poor Clare Sisters in Bosnia and the Carmelite Sisters in Nigeria, from the destitution in India and the poverty in Latin America – from everywhere messages of comfort and spiritual support are pouring in. They testify to the living spirit of communion, and the truth of Saint Paul’s words: “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.” For, “you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Cor. 12:26-27)

Ukraine—Sister Jana gives a thumbs up.

“We are all together, one body”

The contemplative Sisters in Sofia, in Bulgaria, put it this way: “During this extremely difficult time we are more than ever conscious of just how greatly we depend on one another, how much we need one another. We are all together, one body. We Sisters, hidden from the eyes of the world, strive to live our lives in such a way as to be the heart of this body, so that the grace of God may act through us and flow into every member. We pray for you every day.”

None of us lives or dies alone. These Sisters, in their “fortresses for God” – as Father Werenfried called them – are praying to overcome the pandemic. “Every day we pray and plead with God for the health of our benefactors and their families and for an end to the pandemic,” write the Sisters of the Greek-Catholic convent in Veliky Birky, in Ukraine. “We are pleading with God for those in suffering and fear, for those in anguish and those who are sick, for the doctors and all those who are working to overcome this pandemic. May the Lord bless them and may the Immaculate Mother of God grant them her protection.”

The many letters, phone calls and emails we have received are testimony to this wave of prayerful sympathy, like links in a chain of prayer that spans the world, the loving embrace of God, the reflection – the mirror – of His Love.          •

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