The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has updated its guidelines, and as part of the efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, public acts of worship have been suspended. However, despite these challenges to living out our faith in public, there are things that we can do to adjust and make the best out of a difficult situation. To that end, we’ve prepared a list of tips that you can use to help your spiritual life during these isolating times.
Follow our social media accounts
Both our Outreach and SPEC teams are working hard to provide you with daily content during this time in which we can’t physically run retreats or events in parishes, schools and elsewhere. We’ve been posting videos on prayer, links to news updates, inspiring pictures and more. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting more of this, as well as some new features, such as our Countdown to Easter series and live-streaming Vespers at the SPEC Retreat Centre.
Breathing exercises for prayer
As many of us will probably have a little extra time spare, we can better-prepare our prayer time; one of the ways to do this is practice some breathing techniques to help to focus us better. Have a look at our resource on how to do this well.
Ever struggled with reading or processing Scripture? Lectio Divina is a great way to personally connect with the Word of God. In Lectio Divina, the chosen spiritual text is read four times in total, giving an opportunity to think deeply about it and respond thoughtfully. When we practice Lectio Divina, we can imagine we’re actually involved in the events of Scripture – for example, hearing God’s words to the Israelites in the desert. Click our link to find out how to get started.
Make a rosary
Got some string, matches, a tea light and some scissors at home? Perfect! You can make your own rosary with the help of our handy how-to video. These easy-to-make rosaries not only ease your boredom at home but are also great gifts for friends, family or even neighbours. Get the family together and get creating!
Learn more about the Mass
Sadly, public Masses are cancelled at the moment, but every cloud has a silver lining and now is a great chance to really grow your knowledge and appreciation of the Mass. Check out our resources here so that when you get to go to Mass again, it will be an even richer experience.
Join the Mass online
Priests will continue to celebrate Mass in a church within their parish without the faithful on a daily basis. There are some great online feeds where the Mass is being livestreamed so you don’t miss out.
Clean your room
With everything that’s going on in the world, and with the government telling us to stay at home for longer periods of time than we’re accustomed to, it can be easy to feel like we’re not in control of anything – and this can perhaps feel stressful. So take some control and do what you can to bring order into your life. A great idea is to clean your room. Clean it, keep it clean and make it beautiful.
Make a shrine
With it being impossible to go to Mass at the moment, and freedom of movement limited, why not make (in your recently cleaned room) a beautiful little shrine that you can use as a focus for your prayer time. It could consist simply of a bible and a candle, or include other items, such as statues and pictures.
Remember when you were a child and you could spend hours getting lost in paining or making up stories? Why not pick up the guitar that’s been gathering dust in the corner of you room for months and try to learn a simple song?
Get outside when you can
Even if you are self-isolating right now, it’s always good to get outdoors and get some fresh air when we can – but of course, whilst making sure to practice social distancing. It can give us some perspective and get us outside of our own heads.
Sit quietly in a room
No really. As the great seventeenth century philosopher Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” In our day-to-day lives, it can be tempting to push away the bigger questions of life such as, “Why am I here?”, “Does God really exist?”, “Is there life after death?”, and instead pop our headphones on and listen to a podcast. It’s tricky to be left along with our thoughts sometimes. Bishop Robert Baron has some great tips on how to use times of silence well. Check them out here.
Check out some Catholic films
With extra time on our hands we know how tempting it is to mindlessly flick through Netflix, watching the same old shows over and over again, our minds slowly turning to mush. What else are we meant to watch, I hear you cry?! Why not delve into some good Catholic movies! There are some great options out there, which are both entertaining and can teach us so much about our faith. Some of our recommendations are The Shack, Risen, The Passion of the Christ and Prince of Egypt.
Try to enjoy this time as much as possible
We know that uncertainty can cause a huge amount of stress and anxiety, but we really want to encourage you to relax during this time and try to see some good in it. We already know that God has the victory, so let’s try and cling to that peace as much as we can.
Can you video chat some of your relatives, maybe those overseas, who you don’t usually have time to chat to? Sort out your room and de-clutter. Perhaps you can give your unwanted items to charity shops in a few weeks’ time?
It’s hard to make the best of things all the time, so don’t feel pressure to fill each moment creatively. But remember, “Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”