In what feels like the blink of an eye, a virus has covered the earth and left us all worried and anxious about not only our own health but the survival of those around us, especially those with immune-compromised conditions and the elderly. Due to COVID-19, our lifestyles have changed overnight. While the medical field has been mobilized to save lives and come up with solutions to get us the medicine, ventilators, and protective gear needed to combat this virus, other aspects of our daily lives have been completely upended. In the last forty days, many have lost businesses they have spent years building! Unemployment is rampant and many of our daily activities have come to a halt.
One of the most impactful consequences of trying to prevent the spread of this virus has been social distancing. Maintaining distances of being six feet apart, avoiding any gathering of more than 10 people, and canceling all sports, school activities, and even musical gatherings! Everything is literally canceled. Social distancing has left many people feeling lonely and isolated.
In addition, with little to no forewarning, Catholics have been living without the Sacraments for weeks and this could go on for many months. Many Catholics have never gone without the Mass for more than a week. Now we are needing to adjust to the on-line streaming of Mass, confession is no longer available, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is closed. Our church doors are closed and even locked and we are all waiting for this one to blow over.
It feels as if someone hit the pause button on life.
During these challenging times, our Catholic faith is more relevant than ever before. Our Lord Jesus wants to walk with us, to be invited into our loneliness, and to set us free from our bondage and sin! For over two thousand years, people have turned to faith during times of great trials and tribulations like war, famine, and pestilence. When we turn to faith, the Lord can sanctify our trials and bring about great blessings. For the Lord can always bring out a greater glory when we choose to follow Jesus. Jesus brings life from death, and His Crucifixion and Resurrection is the perfect reminder of this!
So how can we navigate these trying times?
- Prayer is our strength! We read in Phil 3:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13. How do you get this strength? Through prayer and developing a meaningful relationship with the Lord. Recently, co-author Michele Faehnle and I we took the time to explore this very topic in our book Pray Fully: Simple Steps for Becoming A Woman of Prayer!
- When we don’t have the Sacraments, we have sacramentals which direct us back to the Lord. Sacramentals are a gift that serves as a holy reminder of our faith. Blessed medals, images, and candles can give us graces and help us to maintain our faith.
- Have holy water on hand. Dust off that old holy water and don’t be afraid to bless yourself before you head out the door! Bless yourself and your family and invite the Lord into your life. If you don’t have holy water, reach out to your pastor and ask him to bless some water for you and see if he can leave it outside his door for you to pick it up! This sacramental is a powerful reminder of our baptism and redemption.
- Enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home. This powerful Christian ceremony leads the family to invite Jesus into their home. The Enthronement is an opportunity for a new beginning for the family and the Sacred Heart devotion can provide strength and comfort during these trying times. Visit WelcomeHisHeart.com to learn more.
- Families need to pray together. Invite your family to a regular prayer time. In addition to the blessings before meals, evening prayer is a great way to pray to the Lord and connect with your family. Regular evening (or morning) prayer doesn’t need to feel obligatory and it is an opportunity to grow closer as a family.
- Offer it up! This old saying that most Catholic youths have heard at some time in their life points to the importance of offering up our joys and sorrows. St. John Paul II once said, “where the primary objective of consecration is that the creature should repay the love of the Creator by loving Him in return, yet another is to make amends for the insults offered to Divine Love by being oblivious and neglectful and along with the sins and offense of mankind.” We can seek to console the Heart of Jesus if we are willing so silently suffer and offer up our challenges.
- Grow something green. Recently we planted small seeds and placed them in the window. Each morning my youngest and I check on the flowers that slowly are arising from the soul. We too will come out stronger if we cling to Christ. We will be transformed into a beautiful flower that has been planted in the soil of Christ’s love.
- Create something beautiful. What can you do that is lasting? A memory book? A house project, paint a room? Paint a painting.
- Read Scripture daily. Be fed by the Word and with the Word. Sign up at USCCB.org to get the daily reading right to your phone!
- Join a faith-sharing group during social distancing. We only need to be physically distant not spiritually! Connect with others through social media, the phone, facetime, Zoom, Marco-Polo App, or Voxer to stay connected with friends and family! To learn more about the importance of faith-sharing groups visit InspiretheFaith.com. Try to reach out to at least one friend a day to not only provide each other spiritual support but moral during such trying times!
Finally, remember, life is an attitude. Pick a good one! Thanks to the government orders to shelter in place, we now have time to pray together and learn to live and work under one roof. This is a life that is the opposite of our normally busy schedule, so let us take advantage of this time – rather than get on each other’s nerves! A good attitude will go a long way with a house full of children.
*This article also ran on www.catholicmom.com.