This is not the Lenten season any of us would have expected. Annually Lent is a time of grace, a time we choose to do some serious spiritual housecleaning. As one homilist put it: it is the spring training of our spiritual lives. A time to brush up on basic discipleship skills so that we can hit the proverbial “home run” during the rest of the year.
This year, because of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, fasting has taken on a new meaning as many dioceses suspend Masses until after Easter. This means that we are now fasting from the Eucharist itself. This gives us an opportunity to rediscover its importance in our lives. There is nothing like being involuntarily deprived of something to bring home its significance and value to us personally.
This imposed fasting from Eucharist also gives us the opportunity to experience what so many Catholics in other countries experience weekly, that is, the absence of Eucharist because there are not enough priests, and with others in our own country whose jobs or other responsibilities do not allow them the opportunity. We now stand in solidarity with them in longing for the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation.
Maybe this isn’t the Lent we expected, but it is the Lent that we have, and it can still be a time of tremendous grace both for ourselves and for those we pray for and with in solidarity.
– Blog entry and photo by Sister Joyce Lehman
Thanks Joyce, for sharing your reflection on a different meaning of Lent in our lives. When this pandemic first started I was standing at my glass door of my balcony patio reflecting upon what meaning is there in this. As I gazed upon the bare trees awaiting there time to come back to life in color and shade for us to enjoy throughout the summer and fall.
Pondering the similarities of human beings and nature e.g. fires destroy forests, insects attack certain trees creating acres of charred or empty spaces: we too are experiencing a devastating virus that is and will leave us empty. Our hearts are sad, our guts wrench at the sight of refrigerated trucks holding the dead and yet we know that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. The hope that leads us to resurrection and new life just as we watched Mt St. Helen spew ash everywhere and now new growth is on the rise. We too will rise!
Thanks Joyce for your meaningful reflection on our “new Lent”! And thanks for Judy’s meaningful reply on more different kinds of meanings for Lent. I sense a new creativity along with the inconveniences of “distance rules” and “stay at home” rules from our state governors. I also took the CPPS advisement and saw the Frontline program on the Polio epidemic. This brought many memories and a reminder that the epidemic was not “cured” in a short time, but indeed it was cured! Praise God!
Today, I am learning much more about the outdoors and connectedness as I go into God’s domain outdoors to walk my dog and enjoy it. I’ve not seen it very much in this season in past years. Now I see it up close, with no snow, and the first green things coming up with their bright promise of things to come. I network more with God’s outdoor creations as I can really enjoy seeing them, better than driving by in a car. Also, at the same time I see a lot of new things up close because there are no leaves yet growing on the trees and no brown leaves heaped on the ground. To me, this is another new form of Eucharist, not of my own ideas, but here because of effects of the “virus-19”. I have only now really appreciated all the Holy Week services; it seemed strange to view our Father Fred at Mass, alone at the alter on Palm Sunday with our choir director singing alone on my iPhone, and to hear a cousin tell about her church offering “drive by” pick-up of blessed palms as she texted me. It is incentive to appreciate the new and different and is backed by our former ways of Eucharistic Adoration! Happy Easter to all.