Mary Olivia Patiño
"Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or keep coming here to draw water."
Images of people rushing to stores flood the media. In their haste to prepare for the corona virus pandemic, they push carts and head straight for bottled water and other basic essentials; enough for a two-week supply. Others grab all they can find, exhausting the supply and demand. These are real situations in many cities and towns. I ordered water and stayed within the allowed amount.
Then, yesterday another reality struck. We cannot attend weekend Mass. A decree is in place for the remainder of the month. And, I realized: I thirst! I want to attend worship with my community!
For the first time, I cannot. Before, during times of illness, I have stayed away. But the doors have always been open for weekend Mass. I look deep within my soul and wonder: how can I drink from the gift that my Lord offers? How can I satisfy this thirst and hunger to receive Him in my life? In this third week of Lent, not being able to attend weekend Mass is, for many Christians and people of faith, unfathomable.
Guidelines to deal with the COVID-19 virus tell us: Wash your hands. Avoid close social contact. Keep certain distances in public places.
I believe that the Lord offers to wash me of my own sins; to help me confront my fears and anxieties. He is there for me wherever I am. He is always near.
In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "Why did you make us leave Egypt?"...and the Lord said, "Go over there in front of the people...I will be standing there in front of you...and water will flow for the people to drink."(Exodus 17:3-7).
I think of people rushing, grabbing bottles of water or other items from customers. Fear grips them. Have they have forgotten to trust? Have I? Are we like the people in the desert who asked and received. Then, in times of drought, they rebelled against the Lord.
How am I like them? When do I forget the Lord's goodness? What can I do when I reflect on my own shortcomings?
Today’ Gospel provides food for my soul. “Jesus came to a town of Samaria...Jacob's well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me to drink.”(John 4:5-6)
Jesus answered her: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14)
Lord, give me this living water to drink. When I cannot attend worship inside your sanctuary, remind me that you are always with me. When my pantry supplies are low, remind me that you always provide. But the most essential is to trust in you, my Lord, and go to you in times of need. Let me not be engrossed only with my own needs, but with the needs of others.
Guide me. Help me hold on to faith, family, friends, and to give thanks for the essentials for life which you provide.
In a time when we are asked to keep a certain social distance to avoid the virus, help us remember to stay close to you, Lord, Guide us to care for our families and friends. Whether spiritually or physically, guide us.
I walk physically with a cane at the moment, but am grateful to be able to walk spiritually close to you and others.
Mary Olivia Patiño, MTS
"Love is patient. Love is kind." - I Corinthians 13:4
Love tugs at our hearts whenever we least expect. At this moment, I am reflecting on the kind acts of family and friends. Why now? For several weeks, my daily routine has been disrupted. One morning, I woke up early, brewed coffee, sat down and relaxed before tackling my regular activities. Three hours later, I had just revised a submission for an anthology and decided to take a break from the computer, not realizing the 'break' would extend to weeks. A sudden sharp pain in my knee and leg stopped me. I could barely walk. Eventually, my sister convinced me to call the EMS. The paramedics were patient and caring. Fortunately, nothing was broken, so I stayed home, while she rushed over to see me. The next day, she brought groceries. All this after having completed her own work day! My nephew took out trash, and completed other tasks.
On the second day, a friend came over and cooked the best scrambled eggs I'd tasted. This, while in-between her own activities. For the next several days, family and friends called or visited. One of my sisters drove from out of town and stayed a week with me. It was good to have someone to chat with and to catch up with news of family. Other friends brought delicious meals, or drove me to run errands. Actually, I hobbled my errands.
The mail was finally collected when another friend drove me to the box. The license plate read: "Angels carry me." (or something to this effect)...
My neighbor came for my kitchen trash and took it the curb. I could go on...but remember the quote: "Love is patient."? I think that throughout my ordeal, they were patient with me, listening to my story; sitting for awhile; there was nothing 'random' about their deeds.
I know they came with love...one brought home-cooked chicken soup! Yummy!
And yes, love tugged at my heart. Their love!
Yesterday, love pulled harder as I listened in sorrow to a friend's own personal loss. I pray for her; for our Lord to grace her with His strength. I know he will, for she is filled with faith and love.
"So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love." - I Corinthians 13:13
Moments of Grace:
Writing helps us 'explore' our spiritual wellspring. Be ready for the surprising memories that may surface, for the joy they bring or for the opportunity of healing.
Enter into the experience: write to remember, to create, or to leave a legacy.
Author Geraldine Guadagno has several books. Here is one, below:
The Moss Rose Antique Shop by Glee Miller
Mary Olivia Patiño is a poet and author. Her work has been published in various venues, including Today's Catholic Archdiocesan Newspaper, Ever Eden Journal, and Story Circle Journals.
Check out this video posted by Bertha Jacobson, author.
A Cup of Faith
by Mary Olivia Patiño, MTS
A Cup of Faith
“My days are so busy, cooking, washing, and doing errands. You name it. I can’t seem to find time to just relax or even to sit down and pray. I almost need to draw up a list of all I have to do. How do you start your day?” We were in a café, about to order a cup of coffee. I was trying to decide over a ‘potato & egg’ or a ‘bean & cheese’ taco, among my usual favorites. Listening to my friend’s question, I also knew that she does take her faith seriously, and lives it. Today, she sounded a little tired. Yet, the question was still valid and led me to the following reflection:
How do I start my day?
Here are three suggestions to start the day:
-Give thanks. Lift up your mind and thoughts in gratitude. Expressing gratitude is paramount, the ‘first order’, and a way of praying.
-Open the front or back door and take in the beauty before you. This is one way of praising God.
-Start the coffee!
Nature invites us to pause, slow down, and reflect on the beauty of creation. I enjoy the bluejays, mockingbirds, and cardinals that fly across my horizon; sometimes they spring down from the tree branches to munch on birdseed I’ve placed outdoors. Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of Carolina wrens or a back crested titmouse. I’ve dubbed the ‘pesky’ squirrels who eat the seed or dig up my planters as ‘you rascally creatures’. However, I do enjoy watching them ‘freeze’ against the tree limbs when they hear me object to their antics.
But for those who don’t have the luxury of a back yard, or don’t wake up near a park, focus on whatever is before you. Sometimes, a cup of coffee or tea is all it takes for me to breathe in God's goodness. The feel of a warm cup in hand and the aroma emanating is heavenly!
For me, the simple ritual of brewing coffee, serving myself, and sitting down to relax is a nice time to give thanks, and reflect on the day which is about to begin. It is my way of seeing life through a ‘Cup of Faith’. It is good to the taste, and good for the soul. It can also be a way of ‘pray-er’ in the midst of a busy day.
Reflect on the ways that you start your day, pray or offer the day to the Lord. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
Care for a Cup of Faith?
My "Cups of Faith" feature photographs that I have taken as well as 'sayings' or quotations from Sacred Scripture. A selection of two quotes for the The Red Birds: "Celebrate" ; or "The Birds of heaven dwell; from among the branches they send forth their song."
More of my writing can be found in Moments of Grace: A Collection of Poetry Inspired by Faith. Find me on