There was one comic depiction in particular that caught my attention. It simply said, "Please, help me find myself." I spent some time pondering that in a very serious way. How many of us are feeling a bit lost these days? The constant upheaval in our world has certainly created enough stress and anxiety to last a lifetime.
It is not just the world and the social upheaval which has brought stress into our lives. Being unable to participate in the sacramental life of the Church has also brought stress. Being told that the Church is non-essential in the midst of a crisis, real or perceived, has consequences with far-reaching ripple effects. Combine those factors, along with the economic impact of societal shutdown, and I am convinced that we will see major implications for churches and schools for years to come.
People were accustomed to the Church being present in times of joy (Baptism, Confirmation, Wedding, etc.). People were accustomed to grieving together at funerals. Visiting the sick in the hospitals has long been a ministry of the Church. Visiting those in nursing homes, as well as the home-bound, has always been an attempt to keep people connected to the faith community that loves them and cares for them. Almost all of that disappeared in an instant.
How can we ever make reparations for people suffering in hospitals alone, sometimes dying alone, and eventually being buried with only ten people allowed to be in attendance? How do we console family members who were denied the right to be present at the funeral of a loved one? It is easy to understand why we may be feeling lost. We are in desperate need of a lot of healing, emotionally and spiritually.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. After months without the sacraments of the Church, will we be able to find our fervor once again? Let's put this in perspective.
We missed Lent. We missed Holy Week. We missed the Triduum. We not only missed Easter Sunday, we missed the entire Easter Season. Sacraments of Initiation were postponed for all those wanting to come into the Church. We missed Pentecost. We missed Trinity Sunday. We have now reached Corpus Christi and we are still pretty much adrift. Weddings have been impacted. Ordinations have been impacted.
The Sacrament of Confirmation was missed by many young people. I hope most of them will participate when the sacrament is finally offered. However, if they are not confirmed, it will impact them later on down the road. For instance, how many of these young folks will be impacted years from now when they want to be a godparent but aren't fully initiated Catholics. As a former Director of Religious Education, I know what the reaction will be when you tell them they are not "qualified" to be a godparent because they were never confirmed. New issues requiring healing will then be present.
It is my hope and prayer that we will regain our fervor when we are invited back to participate in the sacraments. Praying to God the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit will re-ignite the fire of faith within us if we have allowed that fire to die down. Seeking the prayerful intercession of our Blessed Mother and the saints is also a powerful aid.
If you are feeling a bit lost, please know that you are not alone. The year 2020 has seemed like perpetual chaos. Perhaps our world is being called back to God, but it has simply taken a lot to get our attention.
The "Anima Christi" is my prayer for each of us today.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Never permit me to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy, defend me,
At the hour of death, call me and bid me come to Thee.
That with Thy saints I may praise Thee forever and ever. Amen.