Teach us Delight in Simple Things

We in France have just had a stricter order to stay at home for fifteen days, which is something we are doing anyway apart from essential errands like buying something from the chemist’s shop. If we are wise, we have already got our food supplies in – and various things needed for personal hygiene.

Quarantine is the ultimate weapon to win the war against this virus. Man is a social animal, but some of us are fortunately a little more introverted and have no need of parties or gatherings when we know about the dangers. Any of us can catch the disease and none of us has a guarantee that we won’t become critically ill and die. I just have a feeling that God wants me to live longer to fulfil my vocation which is far from complete, and help to reconstruct the future. I am sure that I am not alone…

Some of us might need to prepare ourselves for staying home and changing our routine of life and paradigm. I appreciate that it will be much harder for families with children, especially if they live in a small apartment and have no garden. How do you explain to children that they must stop playing with their friends for several weeks? I am far from having all the answers.

It will be easier for me, especially with these mighty weapons of war:

Yes, books – reading and study. Lent calls us to a more reflective and prayerful life to prepare for our Transitus Domini from slavery to true freedom and joy. Here in this house, I have books, music (a little pipe organ) and the internet. I also have the chapel and my duty of the Office and the Mass. Through the Mass, we remain together and united, even if you are not present with me before the altar. We also have a garden to look after and two dogs and two cats. The spring weather is taking over from the gales and rain we have endured this winter. How fortunate we are to have a new way of life to call us to values other than money and consumption, or yet trying to please other people.

This epidemic promises us hardship and adversity, even if we avoid catching the disease. I work to earn a living like everyone else and have to pay bills, together with my wife who also works. Only, she has to get used to working at home and having less social life. I don’t know if the general paradigm will change, but we have to change and live according to simpler values.

I leave you with the beautiful Children’s Song by Rudyard Kipling:

Land of our Birth, we pledge to thee
Our love and toil in the years to be;
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.

Father in Heaven who lovest all,
Oh, help Thy children when they call;
That they may build from age to age
An undefiled heritage.

Teach us to bear the yoke in youth,
With steadfastness and careful truth;
That, in our time, Thy Grace may give
The Truth whereby the Nations live.

Teach us to rule ourselves alway,
Controlled and cleanly night and day;
That we may bring, if need arise,
No maimed or worthless sacrifice.

Teach us to look in all our ends
On Thee for judge, and not our friends;
That we, with Thee, may walk uncowed
By fear or favour of the crowd.

Teach us the Strength that cannot seek,
By deed or thought, to hurt the weak;
That, under Thee, we may possess
Man’s strength to comfort man’s distress.

Teach us Delight in simple things,
And Mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And Love to all men ‘neath the sun!

Land of our Birth, our faith, our pride,
For whose dear sake our fathers died;
Oh, Motherland, we pledge to thee
Head, heart and hand through the years to be!

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