In hours before dawn

I mentioned to some folks this week that the rhythm of my life seems to have re-adapted itself to life from my days in the submarine service. While underway, life unfolded in an 18-hour day. Six of the hours were spent on watch/duty operating the nuclear reactor or piloting the boat (submarines are always referred to as “boat”). The other 12 hours were allocated to rest, meals and the on-going work. For my part, I seem to remember 4 hours or so of sleep as the norm. That norm seems to have returned as I seem to routinely get about 4-5 hours a night. The parish business manager just smiles and tells me it is not a reversion to submarine duty, its old age. This is my blog, so you can just ignore his input.

Like many, if not all, of you, these last 4 weeks or so have been spent in “safer-at-home” seclusion. Sacred Heart here in Tampa is like a monastery in that the church, the office, and the friary are all “within the walls.” I can go from room to office to church without ever going outside…kinda’ like a submarine. Of course on a submarine, you did not have the option to go outside. These days I do. Heck, I can even go to the grocery store.

But during the wee hours before the dawn, before the curfew lifts at 5:00 am, I am usually up and with a few “extra hours” available in the day. Some days, today for example, I will have some idea for a post and so here I sit at my computer blogging away. But most days I take advantage of a quiet time in the church before the tabernacle in prayer, thought and contemplation.

I pray for all the people on the “front lines” of keeping us protected and safe. For a time, that was the work when submarine patrols were part of the complex of defenses that keep our country safe in the cold war years. Now the front lines, while still far afield, are also closer to home. So I also pray for medical folks, hospital staff, first responders, police, fire crew, folks that are responsible for ensuring the food supply chain remains strong – from farmers to grocery store shelves. People who are at risk every day.

And I read and watch the grim news of those bearing the assault of this virus on humanity, the innumerable people who have contracted the disease and the tragic loss of of so many lives here and abroad. Those reports are followed by accounts of unemployment claims, dwindling savings, long lines at food banks, and people whose marginal lives have become more marginal, or have fallen from the ranks of housing or food insecure, to homeless and hungry.

I pray for all the small business, especially our friends who share the same downtown block and the storefronts near by.

And I pray for the parishioners of Sacred Heart.

So much has changed in such a short time. And so I pray. Many prayers for many things, many people, many situations, but always grounding my day in God.

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing upset you.
Everything changes.
God alone is unchanging.
With patience all things are possible.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone is enough.

                         Teresa of Avila, “Nada te turbe”

2 thoughts on “In hours before dawn

  1. Thank you for your kind words and prayers for those who desperately need them. I pray that the coronavirus will disappear from our Earth soon! Stay safe, Father George.

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