Laura Hammel is a member of the Sisters of St. Clare, a Poor Clare community in Saginaw, Michigan. In addition to the prayer ministry in her diocese, she has developed and maintained a website introducing different prayer forms useful at certain times of the year. These include an Advent calendar, contemplation using Stations of the Cross, a Pentecost Novena and Mysteries of the Rosary.
Although the outside world became quiet, I found that I had deep anxiety about this world pandemic. I watched as the number of deaths went up in the world and especially in my own state and those where friends live.
It takes time and experience to find and see the values and gifts in life. Friendships are one of these gifts, as I was reminded when five important people in my life died during this past year.
Jesus cares enough about our safety to stay with us in the fields. I find this Christian image still comforting in a world far removed from the hillsides with grazing sheep of biblical times. Fear and vulnerability live within us even today.
Rituals carry us through darkness and into the light during this season. They express the desire and longing that we feel and feed our joy as we wait together.