Who would have thought, just a few weeks ago, that we’d be where we are today, schools and businesses closed, students at home, social distancing, bickering on social media and message boards over the ‘crimes’ of our politicians and the parents who can’t seem to keep their kids at home. For me, personally, I am hoping that this is an opportunity to be attentive to some things that have been neglected in the recent months. Allow me to entertain you by naming a few.
- This blog and website: I keep promising to blog more, to update faster, to add more – yet I continually get caught up in all that has to be done (away from my laptop). And my promises come to naught. No excuses NOW, right?
- Fitness: I wonder what sort of creative distractions I can come up with to explain away my procrastination regarding walking, the elliptical, or just some basic yoga?
- Structure: I let my unorthodox work schedule dictate how my days unfold and maybe this should be my motivation to just say NO and get into a very good healthy routine. Healthy meaning not only what I eat and my activity level, but also with regard to my spiritual journey and even organization within the home.
- Communication with family members: Get better at calling. Writing? (Do people still do that?)
But most of all … more important than all the rest, is a need for a profound appreciation of what has been removed during this time of quarantine.
5. FAITH and the various elements of our Faith that we take for granted: The inability to go to Mass. To receive the Eucharist. To be physically in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Group prayer. Stations of the Cross on Fridays! I would add fish fry as well but that sort of misses the point. Do you miss these things yet? I do. You should. Do Sundays feel ‘off’? People joke about experiencing a Lent they didn’t expect, having to give up so much or giving up in ways they didn’t anticipate. We can chuckle about that, the comment is meant to be funny, but isn’t it also true on a very profound level and non-comic level?
Take a look at what we’ve really had to give up and do without, even if you aren’t a regular Mass-goes or Stations-attendee. Try to imagine a world without these FAITH things or where they are very hard to come by. Can you hear the bells ringing out during the consecration? Can you smell the incense? Maybe, just maybe, we should take this opportunity (and indeed it is a great opportunity) to get back to our roots of Faith. Make prayer part of our every day routine. Not just once a day, but throughout the day. From the minute we open our eyes until the time we close them at night – pray always. Can you honestly say that you don’t have time? Look at the resources and suggestions your parish staff has been sharing with you and encouraging you to explore. TALK to your kids about Faith (and explain why loving our neighbor as we love ourselves means staying at home – and keep them at home).
We literally have no excuse that can explain away our choice to not be more prayerful and holy during this unexpected time of solitude. Maybe it means making some changes. Maybe it means examining our priorities and being scrupulous about it. Maybe it means simply laying down the law – with ourselves or with those in our household. But certainly it means working on your prayerful relationship with God, in one of the many ways we have at our fingertips in this modern era. We have advantages that others before us never had. No excuses. There are none. Just do it.