In the Focolare Movement, which I am involved with, we focus each month on a particular phrase from the bible. We try to put it into practice in our daily lives. For October 2021 the phrase was, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans 8: 28).
I was planning to spend my day off (Friday) with my elderly parents in Ripon. I thought I would drive up on the Thursday evening and come home on the Saturday morning via Horsforth, Leeds, where my daughter and her boyfriend have just bought a house together.
But on the Thursday morning, I suddenly got a phone call from my Mum. My Dad had tested positive for Covid! It was very clear that I could not visit my parents in Ripon.
This was unexpected. I found myself wondering how all things could work for good in this new situation. I immediately thought that I could spend the Friday with my daughter in her new home. I texted her and she replied immediately with enthusiasm, so suddenly there was a new plan and I drove up to Horsforth on the Thursday evening. How good it was to visit my daughter and the boyfriend in their new home! I was able to share in all the excitement, quandaries and many tasks associated with moving house. I began to realise the great wisdom of God in this new plan.
Then, on the Friday, I did some jobs which involved taking lots of rubbish to the recycling centre, which was in Yeadon. I was excited to drive to Yeadon because it was necessary to drive past Rawdon, which was where I lived in my teenage years. I saw lots of places I remembered with fondness. As I was getting back, I decided to explore Horsforth a little. My best friend from secondary school had lived in Horsforth, and I was wondering if I could still find his house. I found it very easily, knocked on the door, and my friend’s Dad answered! He told me that my friend, who had been living in Brazil, had recently returned and now lived nearby! I soon found his house, knocked on the door and met my friend for the first time in 28 years. It was a hugely important moment. There was lots of catching up, and another session for catching up was scheduled.
By the time I got home it was clear that both my parents had caught Covid, but that for them it seems to have been a very mild illness, perhaps because they had been fully vaccinated. I could not help but give thanks to God for all the good, which had come out of that unexpected situation.
With prayers and best wishes, Fr Patrick
Prayer (verses from Psalm 63)
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you;
my soul is athirst for you.
Your loving-kindness is better than life itself
and so my lips shall praise you.
I will bless you as long as I live
and lift up my hands in your name.
My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips,
When I remember you upon my bed
and meditate on you in the watches of the night.
For you have been my helper
and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand shall hold me fast. Amen.