Not the Lent I Imagined
I see it as no coincidence that this trying time for Catholics is happening during the Lenten season.
“Quarantine” comes from the Italian word “quarantena,” meaning “forty days.”
No social gatherings, no school, no work, no Mass. I don’t know about you, but these were not things I intended on giving up for Lent. But as my mind began to wonder about how I would spend my time of social distancing and quarantine, I began to realize what a beautiful opportunity I was being presented with: the opportunity to fully submit to the will of God and to pursue everything I was doing with my whole heart and soul, as opposed to feeling as though I am “too busy” or “don’t have enough time.” I suddenly realized these excuses had no room in my life.
As college students during this difficult time, we have the opportunity to plan nearly every hour of our day around the life we were made for: a life of divine intimacy with Christ, but how do I do this? How can I possibly narrow down what the most important things are for me to devote my time to?
In order to figure out the answers to these questions, we must look at what we were created for:
1. Divine Intimacy (prayer)
– Above all else, our hearts were created for divine intimacy with Jesus. During this time, we have the opportunity to discover what that truly means by increasing the time we spend in prayer. We also have the opportunity to introduce new forms of prayer in our lives such as praying the liturgy of the hours, spending more time reading scripture, saying a daily rosary/divine mercy chaplet etc. The act of simply spending more time in mental prayer and silence with Jesus is the best way for you to get to know the heart of the Father. Saints are being made at this time in the Church. What graces are you open to receive?
2. Our vocation (schoolwork)
– Right now, it is all of our vocations to be students and to pursue excellence in our schoolwork. Now, I know the word “excellence” sounds daunting, but what if I told you pursing excellence simply means seeking God’s will in everything? That makes things sound not so intimidating. God has selected all of us to be students during this time, and he wants us to perform at our very best. Set aside the time you would normally be sitting in class to work on schoolwork. Take the extra 20 minutes to read over that essay you wrote. Be tedious, be thorough, be excellent.
3. Our bodies to be a reflection of our souls (physical activity)
– Our exterior bodies were designed to be a reflection of our interior. When we take care of our physical health put good things into our bodies, we are honoring them as God’s temples. Get moving. Schedule the time in your day to get up off the couch or out of bed and get your blood flowing and your heart pumping. While physical activity provides many benefits to our physical health, it also can help us clear out minds in a world so full of clutter.
4. Sobriety (don’t binge on tv and social media)
– Sobriety isn’t all about just not consuming too much alcohol. The virtue of sobriety focuses on being aware of what is happening around us at every moment of every day. In a time where we should be present as to what is happening around us, are we too consumed with the latest Netflix series, what everyone else is doing on social media or the latest video game to notice what God has placed right in front of our faces? God acts in reality. Do not remove yourself from the reality that is surrounding us.
5. Exploration (do that thing you’ve always wanted to do)
– During this time, we have the opportunity to dive into the hobbies we’ve always wanted to partake in. Dust off the book you’ve be wanting to read for years. Pick up the instrument in the corner of your room you never play. Teach yourself to do the one thing you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t waste away your time. You never know what God may have in store for you.
Don’t waste this time. Use it as an opportunity to grow in holiness and in communion with the Father.
“Ya’ll better be saints by the time we come back to this church.” -Father Long