Today has been a busy one in many respects, although the first part of the day remained unchanged – prayer time, rosary, Mass, followed by breakfast and time online to check emails, the latest news and a variety of websites.

I realized that I’ve not had a lot of exercise lately (I usually walk a lot each day, going to destinations on foot when possible) and I decided to remedy that by cleaning the house. My goal each day is to clean one room at a time – thoroughly, completely, not just the topical dusting that momentarily makes you feel better and like you’ve actually accomplished something!

I tackled the living room first where, among other things, I have a 50-plus bell collection from all over the world. Not only did the glass shelves have to be cleaned, but each bell lovingly cleaned. That was an enormous amount of fun as each bell represented a place I had travelled to and each bell has many memories attached. As did those bells that have been given to me over the years. I so enjoyed reliving those memories! I could write a whole column “For whom the bells toll” just about my collection!

I needn’t go into more detail about cleaning (a sure way to bore people) and certainly will not so that every day with every room I tackle. I also have an amazing collection of plates from around the world but cleaning most of those means getting on a ladder so I’ll do that when someone else can help me.

I also decided to spend a bit more time in the kitchen today and right now I am savoring the aroma of a delicious beef bourgignon as it simmers! I made enough for several dinners so the effort was worth it. The hard part is having my table beautifully set for 6 people and eating alone! It just makes me look forward to future dinners with guests!

I posted a Facebook live video yesterday to tell my story – similar to millions here in Italy – of life in quarantine. I’ve had an avalanche of emails, FB messages and many other types of communication and just could not answer everyone individual so I hope the video helped as I tried to answer your questions: Joan, how are you doing? What is life like in Italy these days? Thanks SO much for your love and concern and friendship!

Apologies for the last two or three minutes of the FB live. When I touched FINISH, nothing happened. I must have touched it 6 times before the video actually closed, during which time I kept studying all the little icons I had not noticed before on my screen when I’d do a FB live. Pazienza!

Now, some Vatican news:

Each day of the coronavirus pandemic, as he celebrates his 7 am morning Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis has prayed for special intentions relative to the virus. His intentions have included prayers for those suffering hunger, for people in difficulty, for those who are weeping and for families facing financial problems. He has also said prayers of thanks to God for medical personnel and their “heroic example.” Today, Monday, March 30, Francis prayed for those in fear:


Pope Francis prayed for those overcome by “fear because of the pandemic,” and reflected on the two women from Monday’s readings during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. (playback included )
By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

The Pope’s intention for Mass on Monday morning at the Casa Santa Marta was “for the many people who are not succeeding in coping and remain in fear because of the pandemic. May the Lord help them to have the strength to cope for the good of society and the entire community.”

The Pope’s homily was a reflection on Psalm 23. He applied it to the two women presented in the readings for the Fifth Monday of Lent: Susanna and the woman caught in adultery (Daniel 13; John 8:1-11).

Two women
Pope Francis began his homily reciting the first half of Psalm 23, the Responsorial Psalm for the day. Both Susanna and the woman caught in adultery experienced the Lord’s presence in the dark valley, he said. Innocent Susanna had been falsely accused, the other had committed sin. Both had a death sentence hanging over their heads.

“The Fathers of the Church saw a figure of the Church in these women: holy but with sinful children. … Both women were desperate…. Susanna trusts in the Lord.

Two groups of men
The Pope went on to comment on the two groups of men present. Both groups “had positions in the church”. The group of judges, and the doctors of the law. Those who condemned Susanna were corrupt; those who condemned the woman caught in adultery were hypocrites.
en to our report

The women’s reaction
“One woman fell into the hands of hypocrites, the other into the hands of the corrupt. There was no way out…. Both women were in a valley of darkness…heading toward death. The first, explicitly entrusts herself to the Lord, and the Lord intervened. The second…knows she’s guilty. She’s ashamed in front of all the people…. The Gospel doesn’t say it, but surely she was praying inside, asking for some type of help.”

The Lord intervenes
Both the men and the women receive the Lord’s intervention. He justifies Susanna and forgives the adulterous woman, the Pope said.
“He condemns the corrupt ones, He helps the hypocrites convert themselves. He does not forgive the corrupt ones, simply because the corrupt person is incapable of asking for forgiveness…. They are sure of themselves, they destroy, and continue to exploit people…. They put themselves in place of God.”

“The Lord responds to the women. He frees Susanna from the corrupt men… To the other He says, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.’ “

Lessons learned

In Susanna’s case, the Pope continued, the people praised God. Those present with Jesus and the woman caught in adultery “learn about God’s mercy”. These are lessons we all need to learn because “each one of us has our own story, our own personal sins”, the Pope said. If we don’t recognize our own sins, then “you are corrupt”, he said.

“Let’s look to the Lord, who does justice, but who is extremely merciful… May each one of us, seeing how Jesus acted in these cases, entrust ourselves to God’s mercy and pray, trusting in God’s mercy, asking forgiveness, because God ‘guides me along the right path. He is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness’ the valley of sin, ‘no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.”

For playback (the papal Mass can be seen live each morning on Vatican media) : https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2020-03/pope-fear-coronavirus-adulterous-woman-susanna-judges-hypocrites.html