Lenten Reflection for the third week of LentMarch 21, 2022
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2
In our senior communities the past two years, residents, tenants, patients and associate (employees) have faced challenges to a degree never experienced before. Isolation, loneliness, fear, sickness, death, moral distress, grief, over-work and exhaustion all describe (but do not complete) the difficulties our people have walked through, and continue to do so.
Yet there’s another, powerful word that describes our elders and our associates in these times. That word is resilience.
At the heart of resilience lies hope—the conviction that better days will come, that our human spirit will prevail over despair, that new life can spring forth even from soil once frozen. This hope spawns action, even square in the midst of grave challenge. People learn how to use technology so our elders can have face time with loved ones, and associates step up in their role as pastoral care-givers. System-wide and local teams are formed to be the “command centers” in the face of ever-changing policies and procedures. Associates and residents lean into each other more deeply just to get through another very long day or night. As challenges persist, people shed the “we’ve always done it this way” ruts to explore new care models to fit the new normal. Empathy and words of appreciation appear more readily in hearts and on tongues.
People of faith will hear words of deep resilience from Paul’s letter to the Romans in churches on the 3rd Sunday of Lent. The love of God is indeed poured into our hearts, a love so beautiful and strong that even death itself cannot overcome it.
May the gift of resilience, of active hope, deepen in you this Lent and throughout your life.
Jim Smith, Benedictine director, mission integration