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During a time of crisis, don’t forget to take your “spiritual vitamins”

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You might be shoring up your immune system in these days of COVID-19,, but what about arming yourself spiritually?

As we monitor the spread of Covid-19 around us, we’re careful to scrupulously observe basic rules of hygiene, like washing our hands. But are we also attentive to the health of our spiritual life? Are we thinking about the spiritual vitamins our heart needs to grow in the love of God? Here are some tips on where to find these “vitamins”…

In prayer, God recharges our batteries

An electrical appliance can only function if you plug it in or if its batteries are charged. The same goes for us. We can’t “function” unless we’re plugged into God, and we remember to recharge our batteries. The more overworked, rushed, tired, and overwhelmed we are, the more important it is to stop and pray. Not just once in a while, but every day. Not as we rush from one chore to another, but really taking the time to compose ourselves and unload our burdens into the hands of God. Fatigue, as we’ve all experienced, traps us in a vicious circle: because we’re tired, we tend to wear ourselves out even more through irritation and wasted energy, which is exhausting. The only way to break this circle is to place everything in the hands of God:

Lord, what matters is not my plans,

but what you wish to do through me.

I await all from you.

Without you, I can do nothing.

The Word of God: Indispensable nourishment

Reading and meditating on the Word of God is not a luxury but a necessity. Scripture is like a loaf of bread from which the Church, like a mother, offers us a morsel each day: this portion of our daily bread is the readings from the liturgy, especially those of the Mass. Each of us can read them in our missal.

Of course, we don’t understand all of it. And sometimes we’re so tired or distracted we feel we’re wasting our time reading these texts that are beyond us. But the Holy Spirit is never tired or distracted and it is He who makes the Word germinate within us; it is He who enables us to assimilate it so that it truly becomes nourishment for us.

Through the sacraments, God offers himself to us

Do we think enough about the power of the sacraments? And especially those sacraments for the journey, the Eucharist and Reconciliation? Do we know how to draw from that inexhaustible source that began flowing within us on the day of our baptism? That source never runs dry. Even if we’re physically unable to access sacraments such as the Eucharist or penance, the grace of our baptism always allows us access to them through our spiritual desire.

“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn 4:14). The sacraments are an inexhaustible treasure that we can draw on for our daily needs. Through them, God enters into our bodies to nourish us, to heal us, to forgive us, to sanctify us.

Viruses more fearsome than COVID-19

God gives us what we need to grow in his love. He gives it tirelessly, abundantly. But we must still be prepared to receive it. God always stands before us like a beggar at the door: He never forces his way in. It’s up to us to open the door. How? Through attention to others, sharing, forgiveness which open our hearts, thus preparing them to receive the gift of God.

Fatigue often tends to make us withdraw into ourselves: when stressed about our own obligations and problems, we risk being insufficiently there for others. When our ears, our eyes, our hearts are closed to our brothers, God can’t enter through our door.

As COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, we must not forget that we all need to take our “vitamins” if we’re to avoid other nasty “viruses” that we call discouragement, withdrawal, or despair. Let’s remember to arm ourselves against these spiritual viruses that are the most fearsome since they attack that which is most precious within us.

Christine Ponsard

 

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