Hello all from London,
This morning I went for a bit of a cycle and London is truly very quiet. Besides the food shops and people out doing some sport it’s dead!
“Social distancing” is what is being recommended all over the world as one of the key ways of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.
The other day in a shop a lady was shouting and making a scene as I had accidentally walked over a yellow line and probably broke the 2 metre rule which to be fair wasn’t being respected anyway in the shop.
However the irony of social distancing is that we will now spend much more time at home with those we love and with those we are trying to love!
Yes, social distancing is also creating an equal and opposite ‘household proximity’ and this may be challenging for us all!
A friend of mine from France mentioned that at one time in her life she was finding things very difficult and feeling boxed in. When she prayed she got this image!
It’s the chimney from a factory and Jesus was showing her that the way to let out her frustrations wasn’t by leaving the house that she was in but was by letting out her frustrations (hot air) from within through prayer!
Living with the same people, not being able to go out as before, our habits broken, widespread panic will test the best of us and bring up all our wounds!
It’s a little like a silent retreat when you are forced to face God and your inner self as the outward distractions are taken away!
The only difference is that every retreat has a retreat master and someone to look after and help the retreatants through the inner jungle and darkness of their souls.
This current period of social distancing is not by choice and as a result for many people is going to be a living hell!
There is only so much TV that you can watch and only so much exercise you can do at home! Sooner or later we are all going to come to cracking point!
Yet when we do spiritual retreats, cracking point or breaking point is both the most painful and the most valuable part!
It’s exactly at that point that you realise from your heart that you can’t do it on your own! You are faced with all your demons and weaknesses and ugliness and it’s the perfect moment to surrender your life to God’s mercy and to ask Him for His help!
And just as that lady I spoke about realised that the help she needed wasn’t to be found on the outside but rather on the inside, she found new strength, new ways of coping and is now an example to us all of the power of prayer!
Last night we had a lovely hour of eucharistic adoration here where we prayed for the world. We are very privileged and I know that this isn’t available to everyone.
However what we all can do is to find a special corner, it might even by our car, light a candle and talk to Jesus from our hearts!
Tell him how frustrated we are, how grumpy or angry we feel, tell him about the people that are annoying us.
Then gently and with faith invite Him to come around us with His mother and angels.
Take a mental break from all that is happening, let go of worry and stress and take some time out.
Ask Him to help you, to calm you, to direct you and to reorientate your life during this period.
If you are finding things really hard, don’t be afraid to reach out for support by calling a friend or a support service.
If you don’t know what to do with your time, ask yourself what you might be able to do or learn.
Many things nowadays are available to us online from learning languages to online exercise classes to cooking lessons. The list is endless!
Another thing we may do is to read or reorganize our living spaces!
Let us allow this time to be a time of re- learning. Learning to pray, to play and to work both together and as individuals.
And so my prayer for all today is that through social distancing we will learn spiritual proximity to both God, to our neighbours and to our friends and families.
May God bless your day and if anyone needs to let off some steam, get in touch, I’m happy to listen and help if I can.