What a strange time we are living in. As Lent began on Ash Wednesday, our lives were normal and we went about our days without a thought of who we encountered, who we hugged, where we went, or where we wanted to go. Now every journey involves careful consideration with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. In some strange way, it seems important that this is falling in the period of Lent.
We are asked during the 40 days of Lent to imitate Jesus’ time in the desert. It is a time to reflect and seek the Lord in prayer and the reading of Scripture; it’s a time to practice self-control through fasting and self-discipline through making sacrifices that hold meaning in our daily lives and to give alms (treasure, time, talent). Through our observance of these practices, we are realizing the renewal of our baptismal commitments.
Jesus’ 40 days in the desert spent in complete solitude. He faced His journey and the temptations of the devil without support. Today, we are faced with our own deserts. Many of our parishes have closed their doors, canceled all gatherings and Lenten activities, including Mass, thus isolating us physically in our own journey. We have been sent out on our own, without the Sacraments, direct support, or guidance from our priests and fellowship of our fellow parishioners.
Rather than shuttering and being fearful, we should be praying and rejoicing.
What a wonderful opportunity for us to strengthen our faith by drawing us to pray more deeply and detach from all the distractions of our modern lives. And remember, we aren’t truly alone in our journey. We have access to Mass online, we can call or participate with fellow Catholics online with remote prayer groups, and we have our families to support and be supported by.
We are truly fortunate to have our faith during these unusual times. Take a few minutes and reevaluate your Lenten commitment. Reflect on Lent’s true meaning and live the life of Christ. We are not alone in this journey.