Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
As I prayed through today’s readings, the very first line of the very first reading gave me great peace and consolation: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind.”
What a comforting thought as we plunge deeper into social distancing and isolation.
Most of us have gone weeks without being able to attend Mass and receive our Lord in the Eucharist. If there was any novelty in attending Mass in our living rooms, it has long worn off by now. It has been even longer since my family and I have been able to go to confession. My son’s First Communion has been delayed indefinitely, and I have friends who’ve had to change up their wedding plans because they can’t gather a large group of people in the church. I miss the people in our parish. I miss dipping my fingers in holy water, genuflecting, and squeezing into a pew with my family. I miss just being in the building, which has become our home away from home. I miss the tacky floral-print carpet in our parish’s community center, the unique smell of the basement, and the colors of the stained glass windows. I even miss the donuts after Masses on Sundays (although one of my daughters makes some great homemade donuts now).
It’s like all the things we used to do to be “Church” have been taken away from us. So who are we then?
We are still the Church.
“The community of believers was of one heart and mind.” The Church has always responded to crises and tragedies through the power of the Holy Spirit. This time is no different.
We use technology and social media to pray the Mass at the same time, and we pray Acts of Spiritual Communion together to receive Jesus spiritually. Some parishes are offering “drive-in” adoration and “drive-through” confessions. Everyone’s getting really good at video chatting, and people are reaching out to each other through social media like never before.
Is it the same? No. But we are still the Church.
Through the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, we are still of one heart and mind. In fact, I think the Lord might be using this crisis to wake us Catholics up. We must strive harder than ever before to remain united. We have to be more intentional in our own personal prayer lives and in continuing to foster community among the people we’re separated from. We have to innovate and improvise if we’re going to keep ministering to people and evangelizing.
It’s definitely not ideal. But if we keep relying on the Holy Spirit, He will keep us united so we remain of one heart and mind, no matter how much social distance is between us.
Stay close, my friends.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How have I found ways to stay connected to others during this time of social distancing? How am I connected to the Lord?
Where am I falling short in faith, hope, and love in the midst of being stuck at home and isolated?
How can I better love and serve those who are in my life in this new situation?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Help us to be one."
"Increase my faith, hope, and love."
"Pour out your Holy Spirit on your Church."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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