It is the 5th week of Lent. It’s been two weeks since my parish offered public Mass. It’s been three weeks since I’ve sat in the pews. This season of Lent has been completely different for me and my family–as I can imagine it has been for every family. This week has hit me especially hard.
The beginning of the 5th week of Lent, we know that the statues and crosses are covered with cloth. It has seemed like God has removed Himself (Blessed Sacrament & the Mass) from our presence. Next, the physical reminders of the statues and crosses being covered brings everything home. It’s one thing not being able to go to Mass due to illness or having a baby. It’s another thing of not being allowed to go.
I’m in NYC, and as I am writing this, its really the hot spot of the COVID-19 (Caronavius) pandemic that is hitting our country. We don’t know where the end in sight is, or when things are going to slow down were I live. All I know right now is that we are in it, and I don’t know for how long until it hits other areas (hopefully not as hard).
Schools, have been shut and students sent home to do their work. This part doesn’t affect me as much, because we homeschool here, but I can just imagine how this virus upset so many people’s schedules and way of lives. Some teachers I know have to teach remotely, while trying to keep track of their colleagues–who are sick with the virus.
Jobs, when possible, has their employees work from home. I’m thankful that my husband’s job allows him to work from home. I don’t treat it as if he’s home, but knowing that he’s in these walls and not traveling is a huge stress reliever. One of my sons has asthma, so this virus does cause major concern for me. Even though my husband is working from home–he’s not “home.” I work with the kids (like usual) and he’s off in another room programing away.
Finally, the Churches and places of worship has their doors closed until further noticed. This is the part that hurts the most. Many of us ground ourselves on the Mass, or the Liturgical year. But this year, it feels as if the Church year is going, and we are left watching. This week is the last week before we enter into the Holy Week–Palm Sunday to Good Friday, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to participate.
I try to think about how the early Christians were when they were unable to attend Mass. How did they do it and it was beautiful how rich and true their faith was. In my life, the lack of access has only me desire it more. This season of Lent had been a very Lently, but it’s the way I feel. We have been called to give up far more than we wanted, but we must due what the Father wants. In the meantime, it reminds me of my favorite psalm:
‘O God, you are my God— it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, In a land parched, lifeless, and without water.’ Psalms 63:2
Missing Mass has created a hunger in me that I have never felt before. I’ve had to take an absence from Mass with the birth of my children, but this time it’s different. I knew when I was going to go back. This time, I worry about when we can receive again, meanwhile worrying about this bug is enough to make a person go crazy. I won’t sit here and tell you not to take it seriously, or not to worry. That would be folly.
At the end of the day, I know it’s the fear of suffering verses actual suffering. I know that we want to do anything in our power not to suffer. No one wants to get sick, and we don’t our family to be in that small percentage that requires ventilation for breathing. All we do know is that we can try our best to curtail the virus. Prevent (as much as humanly possible) from bringing it into our homes.
If any of us do end up getting the virus (even a very mild form of it), let us pray for each other for protection and for improved health. In the meantime, boost your immune system and stay on your knees.