26 March 2020
My sister, Carrie, was talking to her children this past Saturday, the subject of going to Mass came up. She explained to them that they would be watching Holy Mass on TV, and that they would participate as well as they could from home. Of course, that sparked some questions. “How do we go to Communion?” “Do we sing the songs?” and so on. She answered as well as she could, but of course some of these things were sad to have to say, such as “we won’t be receiving Communion for a while.” But her younger son, in sort of a mocking tone, asked, “so are we going to kneel down in the living room?” The answer was yes, they would in fact kneel in the living room, and observe the proper gestures and postures for each part of the Mass, and they would be just as quiet and attentive as they always are during Mass.
This made it really sink in for her children that this wasn’t just a one time thing, and that it wasn’t just okay to “take a break” from church for a while. Hearing the story really made it sink in for me as well, and I have wondered how many conversations took place in similar ways. I know of some who have made the effort to do what they can, and I’m sure that quite a few are struggling to get their whole family to make an effort.
While we have no way of knowing how long these protocols will last, and it can be tempting to think, “this will all be over soon, why would I go to all the effort of doing something new, just for few weeks?” The problem is that we don’t know how long this will last, so we must be prepared to carry on like this for a while. Ultimately, we can also get ourselves into trouble thinking that things are “just for a few weeks.” If we thought like that all the time, we would say that every season of the year, including Lent, is “just a few weeks,” and miss the opportunities God is putting in front of us. If you miss the opportunities to show kindness to others at Christmas, you may not have another opportunity to see them for a while. If you miss the opportunity to change something in your life during Lent, it’s another year before you have the same kind of prompting or guidance in doing so. Maybe this Lent, with so much change in our daily lives, we have an even greater opportunity for real change. If you are missing things that are habits, or part of your daily routine, you may have been given an opportunity now to make a new habit. You may now have the time to finally get around to something, or your family may finally have the time together to do it now. Whatever you are being called to do in a new way this Lent, may you have the vision to see it, and the wisdom to carry it out. May you lean on Blessed Mary for the help you need in this time.