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Being Church today: 3 ways to grow amidst COVID | Love Digest

Julian Paparella

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash
Cancelled, postponed, restricted. These adjectives are wearing on all of us. As COVID takes its sweet time getting over and done with, it is time for us to rise up and be the Church that the world needs. Here are three ways that we can be Church amid today’s circumstances.
 
1) Ask God to deepen your spiritual life.
COVID can sometimes seem like a spiritual desert. How can we turn it into an oasis? God is right there with us, even when we are at home. God comes to be with us; how can we be more aware of His presence and closeness? Maybe now is the opportunity to start praying with the Bible. You can start with Gospel passages like Jesus calming the storm, calling us to not be afraid and to take courage because He is with us in the boat. Sometimes it can seem like Jesus is asleep, but we can have faith that he is always with us and never abandons us. Let us ask God to awaken our hearts to His tender love and care as a Father who never leaves us orphans. Ask God to show you new ways that you can relate to Him and let Him fill your day and your life with signs of His goodness and light, even amidst the struggles and shadows we face. God comes to bring us His radiant light even in the dark of the night so we can be a light for others.
 
2) Serve the needs of the world.
For Pope Francis, the Church is a field hospital! Now is not the time to fall asleep at the wheel. In many ways, the spiritual needs of humanity have not been this high since the Second World War. As the authorities care for the needs of public health, we as the Church must come to the aid of people’s spiritual health. What can we do to nourish people’s souls with hope, love, closeness, and mutual support as isolation, uncertainty, and despair run rampant? Pope Francis calls us to be artisans of fraternity in these times of crisis. What can we do to reach out, build bridges, and serve the real needs of others? The restrictions that protect our bodily health need not devastate our spiritual health. Instead of seeing COVID measures as insurmountable obstacles to caring for each other, how do we see them as opportunities to be creative in responding to the deep needs of people’s hearts today?
 
3) Find ways to stay connected to each other and God.
None of us can be Church by ourselves. There is a saying, “A lone Christian is an endangered Christian.” As the COVID situation evolves, let us take every opportunity available to us to celebrate the sacraments: receiving the Eucharist, going to confession, coming together as Christians in ways that are safe and responsible, strengthening one another’s faith by praying together, whether in person or online! Seizing virtual opportunities is vital in today’s circumstances. Seizing opportunities in person is even better, whenever possible. The Cathedral of Mary, Queen of the World and other parishes in Montreal are shining examples of how to think outside of the box to come together to pray, celebrate Mass, and receive the Eucharist. In their cases, thinking outside the box meant thinking outside of their church building, holding Mass in the parking lot in a blanket of show, braving temperatures well below zero. These creative measures help keep the flame of faith alive, while abiding by the evolving restrictions.
 
Being Church today starts with you and me. What can we do in our homes, our families, and our communities to keep growing as Christians in these challenging times?
Holy Spirit, send the fire of Your love to warm our hearts and our homes so that we can shine as a light for one another and the whole world.
 
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at jpaparella@saltandlighttv.org.


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