1. This trial is a spiritual opportunity. Many holy men and women found God more deeply in time of loss, pain and struggle. Live this time as a special opportunity for spiritual growth.
2. These days teach us that we are not in control, and that God is — a powerful and healing lesson for all of life (Matthew 5:3).
3. This time, with busyness reduced, offers a priceless opportunity to reflect on our lives — why we are here, what matters most, the people in our lives. Reflect in this way. It will pay rich dividends.
4. These weeks may offer increased time to be with others — our spouses, children, parents and other important people in our lives. Spend more time with them, and the relationships that matter most in your life will be blessed.
5. These anxious days are a time for small, daily, warm, concrete gestures of caring for others: a helping hand, a phone call, a text, an email, an errand done for another, a listening ear. Look for such opportunities and respond.
6. “Consolation must now be everyone’s commitment” (Pope Francis). Be a presence that brings consolation to the worried, the ill, the lonely, the afraid.
7. Follow online the daily words of Pope Francis. He speaks with wisdom, warmth and faith about this situation. In this way, you will live these days with the universal Church.
8. In God’s timing, this struggle coincides with Lent. You have more time, and there is greater need now to live it well. Make this a special Lent. Choose how you will live it.
9. Pray, pray, pray. Spend 15 minutes each day in some form of meditation — you have the time. It might be lectio divina, Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, Ignatian meditation or contemplation of Scripture ... whatever way best helps you to pray. Pope Benedict writes, “Prayer is the school of hope.”
10. Turn to our Blessed Mother in a new and deeper way. In time of struggle, the Church always turns to her because, as we say to her in the Memorare, “never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your intercession, or sought your help, was left unaided.”
Oblates of the Virgin Mary Father Timothy Gallagher writes from Denver.