Now that working from home has become the norm, we save time and energy on our daily commute – can we commit to devoting this additional time each day to God?
- Develop a habit of daily prayer
It’s much easier to build a habit of prayer at home now than ever. Start small – even a few minutes is precious – and persevere every single day, no matter how boring or tedious. St Francis de Sales exhorts us: “The soul which rises from out of sin to a devout life has been compared to the dawn, which does not banish darkness suddenly, but by degrees.”
If our family situations or our homes lack peace and quiet, we might need to wake up even earlier, or go to bed later, to find that prayer space. If we don’t know how to pray, we can ask God to teach us, or simply make our first thought of the day a thanksgiving offering to Him.
Let us cheerfully offer up these little sacrifices to God in the assurance that with every small step, almighty God himself draws us ever closer in his love.
- Examine whether we live fractured lives
The lack of physical separation between work and home makes us reflect: Am I the same person at home and at the workplace? Or am I loving with my family yet mean-spirited to my colleagues? Am I responsible in my job but leave every task at home to my spouse?
We grow closer to God if we examine honestly whether we lead a life devoted to His glory in both our professional and personal lives. St Josemaria Escriva tells us: “Any honourable work can be prayer, and all prayerful work is apostolate. In this way the soul develops a unity of life, which is both simple and strong.”
May we learn how to live in unity of life in a way pleasing to God, lifting up every act to Him in simplicity and in faith.
- Unite our sufferings to Christ’s
This pandemic has brought about unprecedented upheavals in life. When things are going well, it’s human nature to be self-satisfied; it’s only when things are bleak and hopeless that we reach for our Saviour’s hand and let Him lead us to the Cross. The loss of familiar routines, material possessions or loved ones can be divine openings for the mercies of God to shine through and save us from the things of the world.
St Therese of Lisieux suffered terribly, yet she did not shun suffering, for “no harm can come to me since, in whatever happens, I see only the tender hand of Jesus.”
So in our sadness and trials, let us cling on to Jesus. He will purify and humble us so that His joy radiates in and through us.
- Love those around us well
In these times, we spend far more time around our families or housemates than ever before. What do we do when familiarity breeds contempt? St Therese of Lisieux “handled” a disagreeable nun in this way:
“I told myself that charity must not consist in feelings but in works; then I set myself to doing for this Sister what I would do for the person I loved the most. Each time I met her, I prayed to God for her… I took care to render her all the services possible, and when I was tempted to answer her back in a disagreeable manner, I was content with giving her my most friendly smile… Ah! What attracted me was Jesus hidden in the depths of her soul”.
Let us ask God to reveal to us Jesus hidden in the souls around us, especially those we love the least. And let us unveil Jesus in our souls to others by serving the common good — being socially responsible, safe distancing, wearing our masks, and being prepared to correct in love those who do not do so. We will draw close to Jesus in all the inconveniences we put up with for the greater good of our neighbours.
- Contemplate on God’s divine Creation
The psalmist proclaims that the heavens tell the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His handiwork (Psalm 19:1).
Despite his many afflictions and troubles, the prophet Job could find consolation in the wonder of nature: “Ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10).
Haven’t we, like Job, felt burdens lighten and hopes burning brighter after a stroll outdoors, or just lifting our eyes up to the beauty of skies? Let us pause to ponder nature’s incredible beauty, our beautiful common home, and find our Creator there.
- Make a real effort to attend physical Mass
Above all else, let us make every effort to attend Mass and confession now that they have finally been made available to us by God’s grace.
If we are reluctant to attend Mass now because we have become conditioned to the casual comfort of virtual Mass, let us remember: the Israelites in the desert pined to return to Egypt, remembering the meat and bread, forgetting they were slaves there. In dreaming of comfort, they scorned the bread from Heaven that God Himself provided as He led them into freedom.
Today, let us put down our little comforts and go to holy Mass, and there meet Jesus our great Comforter. Let us pray: Lord Jesus, You are close to us always. As we seek you, transform and renew our souls so that we may grow to love and glorify you more! Amen!