Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 17 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen
home iconChurch
line break icon

Pope: Let’s offer up our social distancing

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 11/04/20

Calls for attentive listening to health authorities, but also urges us to think of the sick and those "already marginalized when they enter the hospitals."

Though Pope Francis has admitted that he hates having the Wednesday general audiences without pilgrims — because it’s like “talking to ghosts” — he began the November 4 catechesis with an invitation to “offer to the Lord this distance between us, for the good of all.”

This was the first week after a few-week reprieve (since September 2) that the audience went back to being live-streamed from the Apostolic Library, as it was for several months starting in March when the pandemic began. The change was made after one infection was traced to an October Wednesday audience.

The Holy Father took the occasion to say that it “teaches us that we must be very attentive to the prescriptions of the authorities, both the political authorities and the health authorities, to defend ourselves against this pandemic.”

The pope turned it to an invitation for spiritual growth:

Let us offer to the Lord this distance between us, for the good of all, and let us think, let us think a lot about the sick, about those who are already marginalized when they enter the hospitals, let us think of the doctors, the nurses, the volunteers, the many people who work with the sick at this time: They risk their life but they do so out of love for their neighbor, as a vocation. Let us pray for them.

Offering it up

The concept of “offering to the Lord” our suffering, or even our joys, is deeply rooted in Catholic theology and the Bible.

We’re never more like Jesus than when we offer our undeserved suffering to the Father, and the Lord can change that suffering, giving it meaning like the anguish of Calvary. When we offer up our pain (or discomfort or frustration or uncertainty), God takes that struggle as a prayer, strengthened by suffering, and uses it for the salvation of souls and the glory of his name.

See more below:


Read more:
How to perfect the Catholic version of “Suck it up, buttercup”


Read more:
How St. Therese gave me incredibly unexpected and delightful news about “offering it up”

Read more:
“Offering it up”: Is that still a thing?


While the Holy Father has repeatedly called for attentive listening to directives to health authorities, he has also deplored the situation in which, especially the elderly, find themselves dying alone.

He was clear about that in his encyclical Fratelli tutti:

We have seen what happened with the elderly in certain places in our world as a result of the coronavirus. They did not have to die that way. Yet something similar had long been occurring during heat waves and in other situations: older people found themselves cruelly abandoned. We fail to realize that, by isolating the elderly and leaving them in the care of others without the closeness and concern of family members, we disfigure and impoverish the family itself. We also end up depriving young people of a necessary connection to their roots and a wisdom that the young cannot achieve on their own.

Read more:
‘May the Mother of God today help humanity to defeat the Coronavirus,’ pope prays

CoronavirusPope FrancisSpiritual Life

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.