An awakening of spirituality
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.– Rom 13:11
In the recent past, many of us have learnt invaluable lessons, thanks to coronavirus. These lessons include realisations and awakenings of different types for different people, ranging from spiritual eye openers of getting closer to the Lord, achieving breakthroughs in the prayer life, enjoying more of family bonding, dealing with financial struggles, adjusting to non-availability of resources, learning to accept discomfort gracefully, pursuing fitness or a hobby or goal, developing an attitude of gratitude, etc. Many of us have learnt things the hard way and as the saying goes –
WHEN YOU TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED, THE THINGS YOU ARE GRANTED GET TAKEN.
For example, living without Holy Mass has been a challenge for many people. However, the larger picture has revealed what is on the heart and mind of God. Thanks to coronavirus, many people, through online services, now understand aspects of the Sacrament like never before. These include the necessity of repentance when we say “Lord have mercy”, the importance of surrender during the Offertory and the immense and life transforming power of the Cross of Christ in Spiritual Communion. Online Mass is not the real thing, but is yet wonderful!
Regarding the non-availability of Confession as a Sacrament which is so very important, many have now understood the need to first repent and connect to God in prayer. This attitude will aid future Confessions to be truly sincere and empowering, as they are meant to be.
The Lord will not leave us orphaned. He is always attempting to draw us to Himself. With human co-operation, the Holy Spirit works in people’s hearts and causes transformation. Many people have encountered Him more strongly in this season than ever before. Based on a recent poll in the US, it was found that 67% of teens and young adults say they are praying more or thinking about spiritual issues more than they were prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Prayer moves mountains! Souls repenting and turning their eyes to God pleases the heart of Jesus! Is this not a wonderful outcome of the season?
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.– Lk 15:7
If we have not felt a deeper closeness to the Lord in this season, let us humbly accept that we have not been sensitive to the ways of the Lord and the signs of the times, and we have failed to be led by the Holy Spirit into a deeper spirituality than we had earlier.
Let’s focus on what the Lord is asking of us in this season. Let’s not be foolish and remain complacent and lukewarm. We need to wake-up in obedience to what the Lord is asking of us and read the signs of the times, not just in a physical context, but in the spiritual context too. Jesus himself scolded the people in this connection.
He said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”– Luke 12:54-56
To help us in this introspection, here are a few questions to ask ourselves. May our answers not cause any discouragement or sense of failure. Rather, may they lead us to a humble acknowledgment of weakness, a stirring or awakening of the spirit within us, and may they provide us with further direction in getting closer to Jesus!
- During this season of difficulty, has my personal prayer deepened or taken a turn for the better?
- Have I allowed the Word of God to be more prominent in my daily schedule?
- In the absence of the Sacraments, how have I remained connected to the wider body of Christ, the Church?
- Looking at the poverty around me, have I increased in compassion of attitude and increased in simplicity of lifestyle? (Read Part-2 of this article series HERE)
- Seeing the intense state of joblessness in the world today, have I realised that taking my job, income or my savings for granted is not right?
- Being forced to follow social distancing, have I overcome my unnecessary attachments to people and vain pastimes, for the greater glory of God?
- Knowing that not just hundreds or thousands, but lakhs of people have died with the virus, has the reality of ‘Eternity’ touched my heart?
The last of the 7 questions above needs our urgent attention. Many of us have forgotten that it is from dust that we came and to dust we shall return (Gen 3:19). More about this point is addressed in the next article.
From His own words in John 14:6, let’s wake up and realise with conviction that Jesus is indeed “the Way, the Truth and the Life”!
Written by Vinay Silva, August 2020