Lent has turned out to be the strangest and hardest Lent I have ever experienced.
I cannot help but wonder what will the next 50 days of the Easter Season hold. All of us have given up more for Lent this year than we could even begin to imagine. We cannot receive Communion. We cannot gather at our churches in large groups. We cannot even get together with our friends and family in the same way we did just weeks ago. So much has changed!
How are you coping? Watching a lot of TV, Youtube, Netflix? Are you reading more? Walking more? Spending more time with your family? Spending more time at home? As horrible as COVID 19 is, not all these changes are bad. In a real sense it is an opportunity. Whenever our regular schedule is interrupted in a major way, it opens the moment up for change and reflection. It is hard and difficult to go through this, but it is awesome as well.
I fell sick just after we were asked to shut down our churches to public masses. It wasn’t COVID 19, just a normal sore throat and cough. Nevertheless I had to self-isolate for 10 days. At first, I did not know what to do, because I was used to being run off my feet all the time. I had to stop and just be at home.
Quickly, I began to create a daily schedule. I scheduled time for prayer, a time for sleeping, a time to eat, a time for walking and a time to relax. It was amazing how scheduling time makes sure the important things get done. Usually I am so busy, that the important things do not always get the attention they need.
Even though you may not be on self-isolation as intensively as I was, we should not let this opportunity pass us by. Having more time, means hopefully being less busy. So, what are you scheduling your time to do?
I suggest that you take one thing off your schedule that does not give you life. Maybe it is a sin? Maybe it is a bad habit? Maybe it is a waste of time that gives you nothing in return? Replace it with something that truly gives you life.
The spiritual part of who we are is not the only part of who we are, yet it is the foundational part of who we are. Our soul is who we are as we live our life out in our minds, our emotions and our bodies. So, I strongly recommend that you add a spiritual habit first. Some suggestions are:
-Pray a Rosary every day, by your self or with your family.
-Learn how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.
-Read a chapter or more of the Bible every day.
-Read a good spiritual book.
-Listen to a spiritual talk or video every day.
-Watch Mass on TV or livestream.
-Or another, good spiritual action.
Do not start them all. Just work on one for the next 50 Days of Easter until Pentecost. You will find that doing that will be so much better than just watching Netflix for the whole pandemic. That way it won’t just be a season of finishing off shows; it will be a season of real life-giving growth as a son or daughter of God. It will be a time that we grow up just a bit more as children of God.
-Father Marc Cramer is the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Edmonton.