As I mentioned on Monday, over a 3-day period I have shared portions of an article written by Alex Ross for The Culture Project. Alex is the daughter of a good friend. Among other things, she encourages us to “rest in the presence of the Lord” and to “live in the light.” Today, I offer the final installment. To access her entire article, go to: https://thecultureproject.org/social-distancing-vs-social-isolation-your-field-guide-to-cultivating-communion/
Rest in the presence of the Lord!
What better time than this for retreat? The Lord makes Himself present to us at all times, and we can use our extra time and stillness to more deeply cultivate our relationship with his love, and to pray for all those who need our prayers. Invite Christ into your life in a renewed way. Ask the Lord new questions and listen for his voice. Make a home chapel or designated prayer space in your home. Learn more about your faith. Invite others into devotions such as the Rosary or into studying the Bible (these can be done on video chat)! Many organizations are live streaming devotions like these to cultivate a sense of greater community. Even with public masses being suspended, you can still hold fast to the Eucharist through participating in daily Mass online or by reading daily readings and reflections and making an act of spiritual communion. Starting off each day with prayer in my home community has been such a blessing for me so far. God deeply desires to be present to us during this time. Will we be present to Him?
Live in the LIGHT!
Firstly, turn on the lights! Studies have shown that any negative effects of isolation are much more pronounced if we don’t expose ourselves to daylight.1 Expose yourself to the sun outside! Open up the windows, and turn on the lights when you are not sleeping. This promotes healthy sleep-wake cycles, activity, and routine.
Secondly, be the light! Turn on the light of your optimism. Ephesians 5:8 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Optimism does not mean ignoring hard realities, but being open to the positive possibilities around us. Optimism means remaining hopeful. It fosters creativity in the midst of our trials and always searches for meaning. In fact, those with a spirit of optimism are more likely to experience meaningful personal growth following adversity.2 That’s right, times of difficulty have the potential to leave us better people than before!
Stay rooted in TRUTH.
You may have heard the phrase, “No man is an island.” The phrase comes from the English poet John Donne and refers to our interconnectedness with each other and God. While no man is an island, we can be made to feel like we are. In fact, the word “isolate” stems from the Latin word meaning “island.” With physical separation, we should be aware that isolating lies may try to creep in. These might sound like, “I’m all alone in this” or “Nobody understands me”. Let’s root ourselves in the truth that we are not alone and don’t have to do it alone. Let’s root ourselves in verified news updates, and not fret about rumors. Finally, let’s root ourselves in the Word of God.