Kathy Schiffer is a Catholic blogger. In addition to her blog Seasons of Grace, her articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Zenit, the Michigan Catholic, Legatus Magazine, and other Catholic publications. She’s worked for Catholic and other Christian ministries since 1988, as radio producer, director of special events and media relations coordinator. Kathy and her husband, Deacon Jerry Schiffer, have three adult children.
So you’re grounded! Any normal weekday, you’d be on the road — heading to the office, stopping at the grocer for some cheese and corned beef and coffee and a loaf of bread, picking up the kids after school or sports. Maybe, after the table was cleared, you’d head out in the evening and catch a movie at the theater. Or maybe you’d stop in at the local department store, try on a new jacket....
But this is April 2020, and you’re home. Alone. Whether your state has imposed a shelter-in-place order or you’re just applying a smattering of good sense in the coronavirus era, you’re probably not going anywhere. What’s a person to do?
Instead of viewing your COVID-imposed confinement as a trial to be endured, succumbing to the siren call of Netflix or cleaning out your closet, perhaps you can find, in your aloneness, a source of joy — namely, Jesus. You know he’s there all the time; but on an ordinary weekday, the sheer “stuff” of life — working and shopping and cooking and driving and so on — too often crowds out what’s really important.
This is a reminder to me, too! As we move forward into the Easter season, let’s take advantage of the opportunity to hunker down with Jesus, sit with him in isolation. Here are a few concrete ways to grow in holiness and grace in the next few weeks:
Well, of course. Spending time with Jesus means talking to him, sitting quietly and listening to what he has to say. The imposed stay-at-home time is a great opportunity to be like Mary Magdalene, sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet.
Watch the daily Mass on TV or on your computer. EWTN offers several Masses each day, from Rome, from their chapel in Alabama, and others. Word On Fire broadcasts the daily Mass from Bishop Barron’s chapel. During this coronavirus crisis, many dioceses and local parishes have also begun livestreaming the liturgy, in order to meet the needs of their parishioners.
Consider joining with clergy and religious and many devoted Catholics in praying the Liturgy of the Hours each morning and evening. You can download the readings on your phone through iBreviary.
It’s a great time to pick up some tips from the saints – maybe by reading a good book. Here are some quick suggestions, but there are so many more:
- Praying with St. John Paul II by Fr. Jean-Yves Garneau.
- Praying with Ignatius of Loyola by Jacqueline Bergan and Marie Schwan CSJ.
- Jesus Is My All in All: Praying with the “Saint of Calcutta” by Mother Teresa.
- Praying With the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by Susan Tassone.
- Praying in the Franciscan Spirit (Praying with the Saints) by Magnificat and Sister Frances Teresa.
You never have time to crack open a good Catholic book, right? Now you can do it! If you've never read Saint Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle or Fulton J. Sheen’s Life of Christ or The Confessions of St. Augustine, you might pick up a copy now. If those fine works are sitting on your bookshelf and showing the wear and tear from frequent use, then check out my friend Brandon Vogt’s list of the Best Catholic Books of All Time.
Your phone’s still working? Now would be a great time to reach out to neighbors, fellow parishioners, or family members who live alone, or others who might have need of a kind word. Do they feel well? Do they have enough food? Is there anything you can do? Be Christ to the people who need him the most — the lonely, the elderly, the poor. Or sometimes, just the guy next door.