This time of the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for all of us – especially in families and as Church – to pray more intensely for each other and especially for those who have succumbed to the illness.
It is also a time when those of us who are sick, or whose lives are turned upside down because of being self-isolated, may find it difficult to pray in their new circumstances.
The experience of isolation, to some, may seem to offer the unexpected opportunity of a retreat at home, un-distracted by other responsibilities. However, distractions are rarely so compliant! And the circumstances that have led to this time apart can turn out to be profoundly unsettling.
It can be easy to feel discouraged and to give up on prayer, at the very time when there is deepest need to know and feel the love and mercy of God and to entrust our worries and concerns to him.
Do not be afraid to bring any feelings of weakness and vulnerability to the Lord in prayer. But also do not be surprised if you find it difficult to pray at all.
Be gentle with yourself, and try to do what you can, and see where that might lead you.
It has long been the Church’s encouragement that those unable to attend Mass on Sundays should, if they can, spend time in prayer reading the readings and prayers of the Day. These texts can be found in a People’s Missal, or in the Universalis app. You might like to offer your prayer at the same time as Mass is usually offered in your parish.
The Universalis app also makes available the texts of the Church’s Divine Office – her daily prayer. You might find Morning, Evening and Night Prayer the most helpful. Other forms of spiritual reading can be very supportive during a time of isolation. If you find you have nothing to hand ask friends and neighbours if they can recommend something. (To avoid import the virus it will be safer to avoid library books etc. Often ordering from the likes of Amazon will be the most convenient source.)
• You can find broadcasts of Mass – including the Pope’s daily Mass – online or on subscription TV.