Coming Home to Ourselves
by Sr. Joyce Lehman
The confinement imposed on us by the spread of COVID-19 or the coronavirus would
probably not have been a particularly difficult situation for Mother Maria Anna Brunner. Although we know she traveled on foot to a number of shrines in the Swiss countryside and even made a pilgrimage to Rome, most of her life circled around her family and her church.
There was no radio, television, computer or smartphones, and no calendar filled with other commitments outside her home responsibilities. Here presence to those around her outside the home came from a sensitivity to other’s needs and a desire to meet them. She cared for her neighbor in addition to caring for her family. For most of us, we would consider the opportunity for this kind of “presence” a luxury; for her it was a way of life. But now that our calendars have been cleared for the most part, we have that chance to be consciously where we are, do with full attention what we are doing, appreciate the time to simply look outdoors and enjoy the changes that spring is making in the landscape (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). We can intentionally respond to the call to care not only for ourselves, but also for those around us for when we can meet needs as well.
This time can become a gift for coming home to ourselves and allowing the distractions of the outside world to recede. Mother Brunner was peacefully at home sitting before the Blessed Sacrament, first in her local church and in later years in the chapel in her son’s seminary. Here she was fully herself, fully present, fully aware of the love of God poured out in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As we deal with the pandemic and its effects, it is a time to rest in that love while we hold the world and God’s people in our hearts and minds, placing their care before the One who wants only what is good for us.