Who would have thought that when I wrote last month anticipating the "long, uninterrupted stretch of school" from January through April that Praying College Moms would experience such an unprecedented change in college education: students moving from the college campus to the kitchen table?
Does your college student now attend online classes wherever the laptop lands? Does she keep college hours in your 9-5 home? Does he eat irregularly in mass quantities? Are they using up the family's most precious commodities these days: toilet paper, paper towels and internet bandwidth?
What about you, mom? Are you trying to find a quiet place to work during the day without tripping over their things? Patiently acquiescing while they monopolize late night TV? Hiding your favorite treats in the back of the refrigerator, away from prying eyes? Do you volley between gratitude for their nearness and wanting to ship them back well before next September?
Welcome to Lent 2020, Coronavirus quarantine, the most unusual opportunity for spiritual growth the world has ever known! By now, most of us have been sheltering in place for 2-3 weeks, right? The initial turbulence has subsided, and in some cases, the raw emotions and panic has too. Days are beginning to establish their own routine as we settle into the "new normal" with our college-aged young adults underfoot. Once the newness has worn off, the close quarters might now be causing friction as our patience is stretched and we wonder how much longer the quarantine will last. The added financial stress of ongoing tuition bills?!, unexpected job furloughs, and economic recession make for the perfect storm as we approach Holy Week. And if you know anyone with CV, or are grieving for a loved one, the anxiety and sorry can feel overwhelming.
From where do Praying College Moms draw their strength? For the first time in our lives (and in recent Church history) we don't have access to the sacraments. Our spiritual friends, our prayer groups, our faith community has been dispersed, self-isolating. Have we ever been so "stripped down" spiritual speaking?
Meditative prayer time has never been more important. Daily quiet time spent with Christ is our best remedy. These next 10 days are the most important in the Church's liturgical year. Let's enter in by giving Our Lord our undivided attention morning and evening. Great saints advocate meditating on the Passion of Christ as a fast-track to holiness... peacefulness... renewed familial accord.
Let's think about it... we're out of touch with our network of friends, but, during his passion, Jesus was too. They all abandoned him in the Garden of Gethsemane on Thursday night. We have no access to Sacraments for the time being. Neither did the disciples or the Blessed Mother from Holy Thursday evening through Easter Sunday. We're burdened with new financial woes. We can carry our cross alongside Jesus who carried his cross for our sake. Let's unite our sufferings with Christ's this Holy Week. Christ’s Passion is continued in the members of his mystical body as they unite their sufferings to Jesus, the head.
Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, the life." He is our way through Coronavirus quarantine. My meditating on his truths--His Word--Jesus gives us life--living water, grace, consolation--all that we need to be patient, peaceful and kind as we adjust to our new living conditions.
If it helps, during these special moments of Holy Week, the video reflections below can orient your prayer and put you in the mood to really celebrate Easter, and the 50-day Easter season. May you be filled with hope and joy!
PS Please share with Maribeth any tips you have for becoming the very best Praying College Moms we can be.
PSS If you'd like to give an Easter gift to your favorite Spanish speaking friends, And So We Pray: Guidance for Moms of College-aged Young Adults is now available in Spanish here.
Holy Week at Home (Maribeth Harper provided the reflection for Holy Thursday)
Bishop Barron's Lenten reflections
Live Daily Mass Streaming (Masses in English all over the world)