Keep Your Distance, but Stay Close to God
Even as we are told not to gather in groups of more than 10 people to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, and as opportunities for physical participation in the Church’s liturgy are not as readily available, we must strive all the more to draw close to God. Today, there are more resources than ever to keep us connected as a community of faith through the daily Mass readings (Magnificat has made their publication free online and on your phone), watching Mass online or on EWTN and the Bishop’s Sunday TV Mass, reading and studying the Scriptures and catechism in our homes, praying the Rosary and other devotions, spiritual reading, and making acts of Spiritual Communion.
Back in 1918 during the Spanish flu, when churches were closed and public gatherings canceled, there were not nearly as many resources available to the faithful of that time to remain connected and to grow in knowledge and love of their faith. I am hopeful that this time of reduced physical presence will be an opportunity for our desire and appreciation to grow. Many other areas of the world routinely have less access to Mass and the sacraments due to persecution or priests being spread too thin. We take a lot for granted, so I pray that this temporary absence will make our hearts grow fonder and more thankful.
Christ tells us, Pray at all times, without becoming weary (Luke 18:1). This is still possible and even more critically important when we are not able to gather together with the other members of our parish family. Mindful of God’s presence in each moment and situation, making frequent visits to His Presence in our tabernacles, and striving to bring all our thoughts, words, and actions into line with His saving will, we can deepen our spiritual lives and grow in grace and virtue even during these difficult times.
On a practical note, I still hope to keep something of my regular routine, to be in Hoven’s rectory from Monday evening until Wednesday evening each week and in Bowdle on Thursdays and Fridays. Confessions will still be available—as long as everyone is able to keep sufficient space between them in the pews—though the times may need modifying. Let’s plan on 10 am each Sunday in Bowdle and 6 pm every Monday in Hoven, for however long public Masses are suspended.
Take heart, dear ones. The Lord is with us still. It promises to be a very unique Lent and Easter this year, but it can also be one of the most grace-filled if we choose to use this time well.