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Catholic at Home: Seize the Hope Set Before Us

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Weeks have now turned to months of living with COVID-19. We’re adapting from total upheaval to the “new normal” of living with an infectious disease in the area; and the big shifts we’ve made to keep life going in our own ways are, in a word, unprecedented. School and work are at home, hugs are few and six feet in-between and we’re spending way more time with the people under our
roofs. Regardless of how much your particular family has felt the impact of the coronavirus, it’s certain that none of us expected so much drastic change in a short period of time.

With the bigger parts of life taking a hit, it’s time to grab hold of our true anchor; because no matter how hard the waves crash, we should “seize the hope set before us” in our Catholic faith. We can’t attend Mass, but we can maintain confidence that Masses are still being prayed around the clock daily. We can’t receive the Holy Eucharist, but we can make a spiritual Communion.

When I chose the title “Catholic at Home” for my column, I had no idea how relevant that phrase would become. For the first time in most of our lives, we are homebound as active Catholics. In the thick of a global pandemic, we’re compelled to make ourselves more at home with our children, our spouses and ourselves.

The key to helping our faith remain alive and well in any circumstance is consistency, participating in a few doable spiritual practices on a regular basis will serve as a solid foundation for
the whole family.

Pray Together as a Couple
I could (and will) devote a whole column to this topic alone, but for now, I can’t underscore enough the impact praying together has on husband and wife. God called us to love and be loved by our spouses, and in order for us to do the job well, we need to be in touch with Him together. Pray a Glory Be in the morning, offer a Rosary or come to Jesus in spontaneous prayer, baring your hearts before God and each other. God’s presence will become more evident to the prayerful couple, and His grace will flow to their children as well.

Prep for Mass
Thanks to the wonders of livestreaming, we still get to attend Mass not only in our archdiocese, but around the globe. Though our living rooms and iPads are poor substitutes for experiencing Mass in person, we can do the best we can to cultivate the sensation of being at church. Light candles, dress up “down to shoes” and set up chairs in place of pews. Use holy water to bless
yourself before Mass, and participate in the verbal and motor responses by praying aloud and kneeling, standing and sitting at the appropriate times. It helps our kids draw a distinction between “going to Mass on TV” and simply watching a show when we add elements for an in-church feeling.

Deck Your Halls
Catholic art around the house and on the walls is a fantastic means of focusing our attention on Heaven. Whether it’s sticky notes with verses or lovely framed images of Christ and the saints,
these holy images call to mind that “the world is thy ship and not thy home” (St. Therese), and that our struggles and sufferings are temporary, that in the grand scheme we’re called to do “small things with great love” (St. Teresa of Calcutta). Search Catholic printables on Etsy or Pinterest to add inexpensive inspiration to your home and soul.

Before the pandemic, during, and after, the family is the domestic church. We are the basic building block of society, which means what happens within our homes will gradually make its way out to the rest of the world. In this time of crisis, anchoring ourselves to Jesus is our sure way to live above fear and anxiety.

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