What does prayer, fasting and alms giving look like in a pandemic? We may feel we have sacrificed enough in the past year to fill a lifetime of Lents. But have we really?
Lockdown is difficult, stay at home orders infringing on our freedom; our inability to see, hold our kiss our children and grandchildren. Yes, these are tremendous sacrifices, but I don’t think they’d get us off the hook where Lent is concerned.
All this staying at home, all this ceasing of our normal routines…this is a wonderful opportunity to stop the busyness; to think and to pray. Ok, parents with children, trying to work from home while helping their kids with online learning…your busyness has not stopped for a second. In fact, it’s probably increased, along with your stress level. Then there are those who have been out of work; their places of employment shut down for months, or shut down for good. The homeless are still homeless, their situation made worse by the closing of institutions they rely on for help.
But we all can look at this time as an opportunity to put our faith and trust in God. Our worrying does nothing to help the situation; neither does our complaining. Our gratitude and our prayers can be a miraculous boost to our spirits, as well as a gift to others.
What do we have to be grateful for in the midst of a pandemic? The beauty of the sun glinting off the frost covered trees; the pristine quality of new fallen snow; the fact that, after almost a year in each other’s constant presence, we can still find joy in being with our spouse. Maybe that’s not everyone…perhaps you’re tired of each other’s constant company; maybe you hate the snow, but look deep down within and you will find those things for which you are grateful. Then thank God in prayer.
Fasting – or depriving ourselves of those things which give us pleasure, is a way of helping us to focus our attention on God. That feeling of deprivation should remind us of what we are doing and why, keeping God forever close.
Our local organizations have been struggling with all the shutdowns, making their fundraising efforts all the more challenging – in some cases, more work for half the reward. Be generous in your alms giving. Even if your finances have been strained, a few dollars, given by us all, would be a tremendous boost to places like Safe ‘N Sound, OSHaRE, the local food bank, and the Grey Bruce Pregnancy Centre.
There’s much we can do in a pandemic, to make the world a better place. Whatever you do throughout this Lenten season, do it with gratitude in your heart, a prayer on your lips and, most especially, do it with love. Margery Frisch