It is no surprise that the Coronavirus is happening during Lent. During the 40 days of Lent, we are reminded of the 40 days and 40 nights that Jesus spent alone in the dessert. Without food. Being tempted by the devil.
Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday, is a time of sacrifice for Christians; a time to give up something that is hard to live without like candy or smoking or TV. Lent can also be an opportunity to do something that is difficult for us like attend daily Mass or pray the Rosary every day. We may offer our time by visiting a lonely neighbor or our treasure by bringing food to the poor.
The Coronavirus has forced us to sacrifice in many ways. We cannot do our daily activities like going to the gym or the mall or visiting friends. Many of us can’t go to work. Our concerts are cancelled, our parties and funerals delayed. We are separated from our families and friends, many in isolation. Medical personnel are exposed to the virus and at risk every day. Many have already lost their lives.
For Christians, the most shocking change has been the shutdown of Mass. For the FIRST time in history we cannot go to Sunday Mass and receive the body and blood of Christ! We are also robbed of the fellowship with our church community.
When I heard that Mass would no longer be held and churches were temporarily shut down, my first thought was, “The evil one is dancing for joy!” This is exactly when he wants! He wants nations divided, families divided. Brother against brother, arguing over whose side is right. He wants us to lose faith. The evil one wants to separate us from Jesus, from God, from our Higher Power.
What a spiritual attack we are under! This is exactly what the devil wants!
Have you ever noticed patterns of trials during Lent? A relationship may be challenged. We may feel depressed for no discernible reason. Thoughts may turn to wanting to quit work or quit life. We may have a spike in money problems. The washer may overflow or the refrigerator breaks down.
Alone, these seem like common everyday problems. Strung together during the 40 days of Lent, they signal a pattern.
Recognizing the pattern brings relief. The problem has a name. It is a spiritual attack. The closer we get to God, the more trials will come our way. We can now take action. We can shore up our prayer life, call on our prayer groups, study the Bible.
Remember, the PANDEMIC is NOT from GOD. All of this is the product of evil. No one is going to say this is a good. But we can pray that God mitigates the fall-out from this virus.
How do we not give power to the evil one?
The coronavirus offers built in sacrifice, which we can turn to good if we shift our focus. Christians believe in redemptive suffering. Redemptive Suffering is offering up a sacrifice for another intention – cure for a friend’s cancer or a child to come back to the family fold. Our sacrifice pays the price for their suffering. So consciously offering up your daily suffering can have spiritual benefits. Cleaning out a closet or the toilet? God, I offer this up for my friend suffering from cancer. Please heal her. Mopping the floor? I offer this up for the poor in the world who have no food. Please feed them, God.
We can use this time to take a positive action. Many are already doing this by making face masks or singing songs on the internet. We can reach outward checking up on our neighbors with a quick phone call. And we can reach inward – meditate, read more scripture, pray.
Surrender to the fact that you may not like it, but this is the cross we are dealing with today. Ask, “How do I make the most out of it? How do I handle it with as much grace as I can?” Moments of suffering can either bring out the best in us or the worst in us.
As a society, we are coming together and thinking outside the box. Zoom meetings are being set up, Mass is on Youtube. I even found a virtual retreat!
Through this virus and our social distancing, we now have time to make more space for God in our life.
We are under spiritual attack. But God is stronger; there will be good that comes out of this.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Stay safe, stay healthy!
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The Italian Grandmama
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