Even in times of quarantine and solitude, we have much to give the world. I think of our cloistered brothers and sisters around the world who united their prayers with ours and wonder if this is a momentfor us to be more intimately connected with them — and, by extension, with others who are isolated, imprisoned, held captive by weakness or illness or persecution. In a peculiar way, we are all captives now.
And, finally, speaking of prayer: when you can, offer up an “Ave” for our priests.
When the history of this time is finally written, it is the priests who will be remembered as some of the unsung heroes. Our world will be remade and our Church will endure, in part, because of a stalwart, largely anonymous band of men who spent quiet afternoons before small altars, blessing and breaking bread, praying for the world.
As I write this, private Masses are being said in churches, chapels, rectories around the globe. Intentions are being remembered. Sacrifices are being offered. The vital spiritual work of the Church is continuing, often in places where no one can see; sometimes it is being recorded on an iPhone or streamed on social media. Most of the world doesn’t even know it is going on. But it is.
And thank God for that.
The world outside my apartment window is still there. (I just checked.) Trees are beginning to bud. On Yellowstone Boulevard, flowers are struggling to break through the earth. Spring is here.
When this has ended and we are once again gathered around altars, praying together, singing together, clasping hands, sharing chalices and sharing stories, we will marvel at what God has done, and what we have been able to do through his grace.
And the deacon’s words of dismissal will have even more meaning. “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”
There will still be so much we have to announce. The world will still be waiting to hear it.
Read more about my life in lockdown in New York City.