If there is anything that the world has learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that the world can stop in an instant. Whether we see it coming or not, there is always the possibility that change is just around the corner to knock us out of our familiarities and routine.
Nonetheless, something that we as Christians, as humans, need to consider: that even though the world might appear to stop, that simply isn’t true.
Many would consider the most important aspects of being Catholic is our faith and acts of service, both of which, should be practiced every day, but could be put on the back burner during this time. Basic human needs still need to be met and those who are vulnerable in our society still need help and it is our call to be faithful and serve them. No amount of change or panic can make that untrue.
It is easy to get lost and forget to put our faith first. When we suddenly lose the one hour a week we specifically reserve for God, we begin to believe that we are free of that “responsibility,” as if our spiritual needs are a burden rather than the thing that lifts our burdens.
Too many people make the mistake of assuming that faith begins and ends at Mass. Of course, Mass, Communion and other religious practices are important, but faith does not have the boundaries of a building. We do not need to be in a church to praise God or worship him, we simply need intention. The intention to read the Word of God or pray is more important than where we are when we do those things.
As Christians, we cannot be at peace without practicing our faith and that does not halt with the state of current events. Our soul does not stop longing for God so we should praise him every moment we can, not just in the time we see fit for our schedules.
The same thing must be said for our responsibility to serve others. During this time, people without homes still do not have homes. Families who struggle with finances still struggle. Children with food insecurity still don’t know where their next meal is coming from. People do not stop being people in light of a national or international emergency. If anything, the need for help increases.
It is our Christian duty to take care of those who need the most help. While it is easy to be distracted, we are still responsible for helping our neighbors. Notice how when the Bible tells us to love thy neighbor, a list of exceptions doesn’t follow.
Every community has people who are in need and we can still extend resources and time to those people from a distance. If you find that your community doesn’t have an organized way of helping those people now, then take up the responsibility of finding a way to make it happen.
We won’t be going back to normal any time soon. Even if things begin to slowly return to normal, there will still be long lasting effects of what is happening, so it is important to keep our faith and to care for others however we can.
Go through your cupboards and donate non-perishable items that your family hasn’t used in years. Offer to go to the store for people in your community who aren’t physically able to. Make it a goal to pray the rosary every day or make time for yourself to pray.
Although this ordeal might be difficult for all of us, it has given us something that we don’t normally have — time.
How many of us complain about how busy we are or how we wish we had a break from our chaotic schedules? It only makes sense to make the most out of the time we’ve been given and donate some of that time to your community and your faith. Really spend the time we have with the people in your family and be thankful for it and don’t take it for granted.
In the end, this time has taught us something valuable — to never doubt the blessing that is normalcy.
We have all seen how our lives could totally change and more than anything, we want to go back to our normal, something that we do not often thank God for or realize is a gift.
Perhaps this is the eye opener that teaches us that faith and service does not stop when the world does.
Ardyn Townzen is a sophomore at Creighton University in Omaha. St. Stephen Church in Bentonville is her home parish.
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