Even before the COVID-19 pandemic ordered us into virtual isolation, loneliness and depression were epidemic among nearly every age group.
For Catholics, who are used to dropping by our parish church whenever we like, and attending Mass daily and on Sundays, the new reality is challenging – and sometimes frightening.
Human beings are, whether we like it or not, social beings; now, however, we are isolated and alone.
Thankfully our local parishes, the Diocese of Orange, and countless internet resources combine to offer individuals and families with a multitude of creative ways to worship, recreate, and develop our spirituality. As one writer put it, we finally have time to have time.
Blogger Cylon George, writing on the website spirituallivingforbusypeople.com, offers a list of actions we can take to combat isolation, including working on our relationship with God. “Do you pray when you’re feeling all alone? Do you believe that God is with you even when you feel abandoned?” George asks.
In addition to prayer, he suggests reaching out to old friends, talking to neighbors or colleagues who you know could use a friend, and becoming a better listener. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, we have the perfect opportunity to work on our relationship with ourselves, he adds.
Charlotte Runcie, the Daily Telegraph’s radio columnist and arts writer, says that when it comes to taking up new hobbies, it truly is now or never. “They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get really good at anything: by the time all this is finally over, there will have been plenty of opportunity to make, at least, a pretty good start,” Runcie writes.
“If you’re not going to be able to master that skill you’ve always dreamed of having now, when could you?” She goes on to recommend reading, especially genres you don’t normally delve into, and exploring hobbies that tap into your creativity.
“But the best hobbies to take up when the world seems upside down are those that help you feel as if you’re giving something to others,” she notes, including knitting, drawing, painting, collage or journaling.
Writing in Britain’s Catholic Herald, Father Matthew Pittam of Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, says making the most of isolation can mean finding anew our spiritual purpose and structure.
“With so many resources available on the internet, it has never been easier to break open the rich treasury of the Church’s devotional and prayer life,” Fr. Pittam says. “There are a lot of options out there,” including livestreamed Masses, daily Scripture readings, Catholic books and podcasts, and a host of spiritual websites.
“We may at this time feel very detached from everything,” he acknowledges, “but in communion with Christ we can never be spiritually isolated from his Church. It is important to remember that all of the Church’s prayer and devotional life links us to the Mass and to the Cross of Jesus.
“Because the Mass is the source and summit of our faith, all other liturgies
and devotions flow from its celebration and are made sense of in their relationship to it. Our prayers, offices and piety can never be detached from the Mass and are, through their relationship to the Mass, rooted in the redeeming work of Christ.”