I’ve been a priest for thirteen years, a clergyman for fifteen, and worked for the Church for nearly twenty-seven years. In all my years in Church work, one common frustration I hear is, “I don’t have enough time to pray like the Church wants.” During Great Lent, the Church invites us to get more intense in our spiritual struggle. We are asked to go to Church more, say our prayers more, fast more, and help other people more. Then I realized today, this year we have been presented with the ideal opportunity to take the Church up on her offer.
With more and more “at home” orders in cites and states across the country, school and business closures, and social distancing requirements, many of us find ourselves spending hours at home that we have never spent before.
If we can’t go to work, if we can’t go to school, and if we can’t gather in groups, all that is left is to spend more time praying. I realized today that the gift God has given to us this year, is that He has allowed so many of our distractions to be taken away, and we can find more time to pray. This year during our Great Lenten Journey, we don’t have to search for time for those extra prayers, we have more time on our hands being forced to stay at home. We can fast more, considering many of the grocery stores are experiencing shortages for certain food items. Finally, we can help others more because many of our own friends and family members, fellow Church members, and neighbors are out of work.
There is always an unexpected benefit when faced with a struggle. Our Great Lenten Journey is always a struggle, but the benefit is always expected. This year, our Great Lenten Journey has an extra struggle with the Coronavirus (COVID19) Pandemic, but a blessed unexpected benefit. It’s almost like we have a double lent this year. If a normal Great Lenten Journey has benefit, this year’s journey has all the more. We just maybe haven’t expected it.