We are at the midway point of the Lenten Season and with the uneasiness surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak many would have already been focusing on several coping mechanisms to get through isolation, self-quarantine and social distancing. What about your daily Lenten promises to feel more connected with God? Have you been focusing on them too?
Lent is a time of reflection and making reparations for sin as we welcome the Resurrection of Christ. Start your day in gratitude, thanking God for your blessings and for being ever present despite what is happening around you. Ask yourself, “What expectations of ‘normal’ am I letting go today and putting in God’s hands?” If you find yourself tired of the indoors, go outdoors in your yard or nearby park and practise Christian mediation. End your day praying for forgiveness for the times when you have disregarded Him and hurt others.
Pope Francis continually reminds to never forget caring for our environment. In some ways, Lent reminds us to reduce, so reduce, reuse, recycle! If this is something you normally practise, great. There are many ways you can continue this without having to worry about contributing to the spread of the virus. It is also a perfect time to discover if you have a green thumb. Try growing your own fruits and vegetables or create a kitchen garden for your seasonings. Long term, it will not only also prevent you from having to visit the markets and grocery stores and encourage food sustainability but save you money as well.
Within your confinement, what beauty are you either creating, cultivating or inviting? It can include painting after reflecting on God’s Word, connecting with others virtually who might live alone or find themselves in constant anxiety. You can also find creative ways online to continue pastoral ministry. You can also continue the Lenten tenet of almsgiving by donating to your archdiocese/parish and favourite charities. The idea is not to remain self-absorbed while in quarantine.
During this time of the COVID-19 outbreak you can still fast from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. Remember fasting involves reducing your intake of food and focusing your attention on prayer. This should include praying the rosary and asking Our Lady, Health of the Sick to pray for us.
There is a wide range of things you can abstain from during this Lenten period. Look back at what you abstained from last year. This year, what can you do differently and what should you add to the list? Make an effort to stick to these new habits going forward. The goal is to be a better version of yourself while it also draws you closer to God and His Word. I’ve found that during this time of social distancing, it is easy to want to be connected online to all the updates and discussions regarding the coronavirus but does your screen-time outweigh your time spent focusing on Christ? Do you find yourself eating ‘quarantine snacks’ all day and forgetting this a time to be less indulgent?
Lent is a prompt to us that “We have not here a lasting city, but to seek one that is to come.” Take to heart these tips so we may be attached to God and His values.