God is listening. I firmly believe that God is with us, as close as we are to ourselves, and even closer. When I pray, I wait for God to reply, not always knowing how God will reply, but trusting that God will. When I pray for others, such as my mother who lives in another state, I know that they are with me in the time of prayer, as much as if they were in the same room. In God’s presence, we are all united.
2. Stay connected.
I was recently in a self-quarantine for 14 days after my husband fell ill with flu-like symptoms after we returned from Europe. (We are all healthy now.) I found that staying connected through video programs like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet, or texting or phone calls, were all great ways to stay in relationship with others beyond my quarantine. Human beings are social and need connection.
3. Reach out.
Not ill or self-quarantined? See what the neighbors need. We can still practice social distancing by starting a group chat with the people on our block. When I could not go out, a friend of mine dropped some flowers and a bottle of wine at our house. Social distancing does not mean the end of service.
4. Be grateful.
There is always something for which to be grateful. Always. As I write this, both of my adult children are home with us, and healthy. I am grateful for the shared conversation, the shared meals, and for everyone’s health. Gratitude gives us perspective.
5. Slow down.
I have often wished I had more time for contemplation. Be careful what I wish for! In all seriousness, however, more time to contemplate and watch the sun rise or look at a beautiful tree through my backyard window brings me a sense of peace. Baking bread takes more time than buying it but helps me to stay in the moment while also nurturing others. Perhaps slowing down is a hidden gift.
6. Engage in meaningful work.
Monks have always known this: we need a balance of work, prayer, and leisure in life. I am a teacher so have been putting energy into teaching my university students through remote platforms, holding office hours, and finding creative new ways to help my students to grow and learn. Even for those who are retired or otherwise not employed, tasks like baking, minor household projects that have been put off, or organizing photos into albums can be meaningful work.
Love is contagious. Love, St. Ignatius says, is shown in deeds, not only in words. But it also helps to tell the people whom we love, that we love them. How do you want to share love today?
Photo by Utsman Media on Unsplash.
This is my first visit to Ignatius Spirituality- always thought it was above my educational level of spirituality. Dr Tom Neal mentioned Ignatius imaginative prayer so I looked here.
May I suggest with prayer one try spiritual communion- man prays AND shows love for another to receive union with God.
I love these Strategies and can add an Appetizer: FOR THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD AND HIS KINGDOM! Nothing can stop us.
Daphne B Stockman
I am so grateful to be receiving these messages , they really help me at 86.I pass them to my CLC Community members who enjoy them as well,.
Thank you Marina, yes difficult times 7th week n isolation for me and initially l thought “what on earth am l going to do” but l quickly found that the Lord has no time for idle hands certainly in my case, each night l go to bed after a very busy day feeling tired but fulfilled and so blest.Thank You Lord.
Very inspiring and useful.
Excellent ideas! I will share, Thank you!
Pray is the first step and I did not realise how important prayer and contemplative practice are until all this covid thing happened. It’s like with the normality of life meeting up to prayer becomes a “routine”. But this disturbance made me the realise more value of pray and finding out more how god is present in my life through this crisis manifesting himself through my friends because every time I am stuck because of my health I pray and share it with god and its like after a while either a friend phones and offers to help etc. It has shown me how connected we are and depend on each other how people reach out and to be grateful for the people around me and the simple things of life.
These steps are very practical and helpful. So happy to share with my FB friends and others. We have a Zoom group who meets to chat and pray each day, and tonight will Zoom with about 50 other praying women! Being connected is so important right now.
Thank You. I am integrating this post in with my discussions with my psychotherapy clients as we navigate through the challenges with COVID-19.
What a wonderful time for quiet meditation on that inward journey to Self Realization. So many detracting stumbling blocks removed. Now sit with your own Breath the vehicle of Love sustains life. And when this is over, pray you have the courage to remain this Poor in Spirit. Spirit in Aramaic that Jesus spoke means breath.
Very apt strategies for these testing times. Thanks Marina. God bless.
Slowing down in these troubled and stressful times is indeed important, Marina.
I like to watch the changes in the sky each morning, as dawn comes welcoming in.
Also, at present, here in Sussex, these past two nights, I have thrown open my kitchen window
to find a bright, white sliver of moon in the dark night sky.
What a wonder!
Last night, a neighbour, across the street, looking out of his widow, saw me looking upwards,
opened his own window, and looked upwards in the same direction, then looked over at me.
So not only did I experience that glorious moon, but I shared the delight with my neighbour.
How lovely. Thank you for painting a beautiful scene of connection and contemplation for us.