Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1
Now the God of hope fills you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. ~ Romans 15:13
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. ~ Psalm 28:7-8
Today marks the last edition of the regular distribution of DeSales Daily for Spring 2020. We hope that you have enjoyed the special feature, Salesian Strength, which was designed to offer inspiration to the University Community from our own community members. Without doubt, this semester we have needed inspiration.
A good number of you have remarked how you have enjoyed the reflections that our colleagues have written. Indeed, we have a wealth of spirit and grace among us. What a gift to share it with each other!
I also want to thank Kristin Laudenslager and Dave Oblas for their technical work with this feature.
As we conclude for the semester, I thank, on behalf of us all, those who contributed to Salesian Strength. I trust we are richer—and stronger—because of their insights and generosity.
Blessings of health and safety to you and those you love.
Fr. Kevin Nadolski, OSFS
Vice President for Mission
Thanks to our Colleagues
Jim Greenfield, OSFS
Dan Wisniewski, OSFS
Doug Burns, OSFS
Kevin Nadolski, OSFS
For once, for a long time,
we have time,
we have time.
Everything’s stopped and we’re reduced to ourselves.
Let’s go back to ourselves,
let’s take advantage of the confinement
to descend into ourselves
and discover reasons to be, to exist, to rejoice.
No more noise, no more hurry, no more stress.
Let’s not fill that apparent void that can be frightening…
by way of busy lives or distractions:
let us remain within ourselves, given to ourselves,
in truth, in freedom, free from all that encumbers us.
We have within us the resources we need…
to live, to relive, to develop the joy of life.
Finally time, finally time to be simply!
Time to watch, to think quietly,
time to read, reread, re-read his vital links,
review its commitments, define its priorities.
Finally deflated by what is wind, by what is vain..;
Finally confident, confident through confinement.
Let us rediscover the taste of simplicity and frugality.
Free from what is cluttering us up
and brought back inside our homes,
within ourselves, let’s cultivate this rediscovered interiority.
Let us not retreat into solitude or isolation:
Let’s enjoy being alone, to give more quality to our relationships.
Let us rediscover silence in order to make better use of speech.
Can we still read while relaxing in a chair?
Do we give ourselves the time to reread
what has built us: classics, novels, poetry, various wisdoms? Are we still able to really listen to music,
not as background music
that keeps us from going down into our deepest hearts,
but to join the unspeakable in us?
Space is limited for us now.
Do we take advantage of this to rediscover what surrounds us:
the house, those who live in it, nature?
We finally have the possibility to stay close to our loved ones.
Let’s give them our time. Let’s take time with them:
Spouses, children, parents, neighbors.
“Time is more important than space”
likes to repeat Pope Francis.
This is the time to verify it, to live it.
Do we have the experience of prayer,
of a living, life-giving connection to that which is beyond us?
Let’s give ourselves a breath of fresh air,
let’s open our bronchial tubes wide to God’s Breath.
Let’s learn to breathe differently, for a long time,
to talk, to pray, to sing.
Our thoughts of confinement, our friendship and our prayer…
are particularly concerned with the sick and dying
and to all those who assist them to the point of heroism.
If we know how to make the most of this time that is given us, freed,
we will expand our spaces of life, of reflection, of love.
After the ordeal of this confinement, this forced general shutdown..,
we will come back again, renewed, from this withdrawal, from this retreat,
to give out, to give ourselves, rather than to take,
to truly serve and know true joy
to be, to be reborn, to receive and to give meaning to life.
+ Robert Le Gall
Archbishop of Toulouse
March 25, 2020
The Annunciation of the Lord
Be who you are and be that well. ~ Saint Francis de Sales
How we talk to ourselves can be a powerful part of sustaining perspective. Some thoughts:
- The ability to adapt has been identified as the core skill which transfers into any profession.
- Making the most of the cards you’ve been dealt is one of the most valuable capabilities in life.
- Although change is uncomfortable, we are living in an era that is enlarging our capacity to innovate.
- The quality of your experience depends upon the mindset that you choose for yourself.
- We are open for business this fall. The rest is details.
- The details will be determined by God and science.
- For over five hundred years, a maxim of Italian theatrical form Commedia dell’arte (“comedy of the profession”) has been: How might we change a liability into an asset?
These ideas are in no way intended to avoid acknowledging how one is feeling in a particular moment. In fact, “it’s okay to not be okay.” It can, however, help us to remind each other that it’s possible to expand our interior messaging.
“Don’t fear; the divine spirit will take care of you. Either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength.” (adapted from Francis DeSales)
Steven Dennis, M.F.A.
Associate Professor of Performing Arts, DeSales University
Artistic Associate, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Six years ago, on Mother’s day weekend, I became a mother. Although having children was always a part of my plan, nothing could have prepared me for the totality of the experience. The first few months of my first daughter’s life were exhausting, filled with around-the-clock feedings and sleepless nights spent comforting her. During the most physically challenging times, I would focus on the fact that millions of mothers over countless generations around the world had endured, and I drew on their strength to keep me awake and rocking. Three years later, when my second daughter was born, the feeling was entirely different. I knew what to expect, and I had developed strength and confidence in my mothering abilities. In those moments, I realized that being a mother was no longer one piece of who I was; rather, my daughters’ existence defines my existence.
Millions of parents around the world are facing the difficult challenge of trying to make this situation as “normal” for their children as possible; finding ways to nurture and educate their children, while also working full-time from home. Finding ways to make face-masks less scary, missing friends less painful, and the uncertainty of when they will return to school less worrisome.
For many of us, this is the most unique situation of our lifetime. Our society has never faced a two-month stay-at-home order and its economic impacts. There is no past experience of this magnitude that provides clarity, perspective, and confidence. When I think about whether I will be able to take my daughters to the beach this summer, or whether my oldest will begin 1st grade in the Fall without needing to wear a mask to school, I am reminded of the words of Princess Anna of Arendelle (Frozen II plays frequently in our home these days) as she, too, faces an unknown future:
I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath, this next step
This next choice is one that I can make
With these words, Anna is reminding herself to focus on the things she can control, in order to summon the strength to endure in the face of grief. For as long as this situation lasts, I will focus on the two most important things in my life, my daughters. With each story, craft, snack, and bedtime, I will share as many hugs as I can, so that they may emerge from quarantine feeling safe and loved. That is one choice that I can make.
Julie Himmelberger, Ph.D.
Division Head, Sciences and Mathematics
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. ~ Psalm 91-1:2