How can we use this time wisely?
Perhaps the best use of time right now is, as Jesus said, to love one another. In times like these, words like his come alive to us. Love requires more of us than we are want to give. Love often takes more from us than we expect. Love also heals something in us we often didn’t know was broken. For these reasons, we should practice love right now so that when there comes a time when it requires of us more than we want to give, we are ready to give more than is required and, at the same time, are ready to be healed in a place we didn’t know we needed. The best thing we can do right now is practice giving and receiving love.
How do we have hope in times of uncertainty?
In times of uncertainty we need a hope that is unshakable. All the things we have been putting our hope in, be it a growing economy, longer life expectancy, or increasing personal freedom and self-understanding, are suddenly revealed as a glass castle. What we need is an unshakable hope.
Surprisingly for some, this hope is offered to us in the person of Jesus. Even if one does not believe in Jesus, the message that God loves the world enough to send his only Son to conquer death and offer us eternal bodily existence in a world of love called Heaven, suggests that, despite the worst of circumstances, our future is incredibly bright. If we believe this message to be true, we have a hope greater than death. Jesus’ own hopeless life (he came to earth to die) offers us a death conquering hope. That is exactly what we need right now.
A time to serve
In this time of crisis, each of God’s people might ask themselves, “How is God calling me to serve?” There will be many tangible needs in our communities. Prior to this outbreak, loneliness and isolation were serious problems in our nation. Social distancing, so very important now, will exacerbate these feelings. As Christians, we need to reach out in tangible ways to let our neighbours know that they are not alone.
As you are able, consider how God might be calling you to listen to others or speak a comforting word, to help provide food or necessities to those who are lacking, or to share other blessings with those who are struggling. A phone call can be very encouraging to those who are isolated. Consider writing letters and placing them in your neighbour’s mailboxes with your contact information. Encourage them to reach out if they need to anything; dropping off extra supplies to an elderly person who was not able to prepare can be done safely. Perhaps, you can join NextDoor, a social media platform for local neighbourhoods, so that you can connect digitally to those around you. Even in times of social distancing, we can safely reach out in mercy and love. God is calling his people to be a blessing and, most importantly, to provide hope to those who are fearful.
There will be many inconveniences, challenges, and frustrations in times like these. God grant us a spirit to see these as avenues of service to others. God is at work in each of us. [He] is our refuge and strength…therefore we will not fear.
Pope Francis prayer This time
O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father’s will and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.