We can continue to enrich our spirituality and prayer life on our own.
During Lent, we generally commit to increasing our prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We might attend daily Mass more frequently, or the Stations of the Cross. Taizé Prayer might be our go to Lenten practice, or the rosary, or any number of methods of contemplation or meditation.
In the uncertain days of this Lent, when we cannot avail ourselves of the usual comfort of the Mass, or our public spiritual practice of choice, there are still many ways we can continue to enrich our spirituality and prayer life on our own.
St Rose of Lima Church in Newtown is offering a Mass online; actually they stream their Mass at 6:45 am (M-F); 4 pm on Saturday and 10:30 am on Sunday. https://Strosechurch.com.
The readings for Masses can be found on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ page, either in written or audio form:
Pray as you go is an excellent choice for daily readings and appropriate music. Check it out at www.pray-as-you-go.org. Another multi-dimensional site for daily prayer offerings is www.Sacredspace.ie.
Fasting takes on a new meaning for us this Lent. We might still be fasting from TV, chocolate, wine, or what have you, but we also are finding our- selves being asked to forego many of our usual Lenten practices and outward symbols of our faith. I am thinking of the many spiritual and social activities our parish traditionally offered, of course; but I am also thinking about the absence of holy water in the fonts in church, the abstinence from reception of the Eucharist in the form of the Precious Blood, the change in the physical nature of offering the Sign of Peace. These symbols, and there are others, reflect who we are as Catholics, and give meaning and depth to our identity and our sense of the incarnational nature of Catholicism.
In a very real sense, this Lent is about giving up more than the usual. But perhaps, it is also about having to slow down and reflect on the way we live today. The coronavirus is a terrible reason to put our regular lives on hold, but “in all things, God works to the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28). If there is to be a bright spot in all the upheaval, perhaps it can be that we begin to pay more attention to what is most important in our lives, and begin to let go of (fast from?) what does not truly matter in the long run. Let us, as a parish, as a people of faith and of hope, commit to using this time to stay in touch with loved ones, electronically, to keep spirits up and fam- ily close. Let us use this time to reflect on our faith and how that faith keeps us connected to the Lord and to one another. And let us use this time to pray for an end to this virus.