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Covid-19 and Religious Practice

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On 3/7/2021 at 3:10 PM, PhuturePriest said:

Thank you both for sharing your experiences! I think it's a really good and healthy practice to open up about our experiences and how difficult they have been. It was really interesting to hear about your experience of the lockdown as a Muslim, Machine.

As for me, I must confess that spiritually I have had a very different experience of the lockdown. As a seminarian, I was privileged to be one of the chosen special snowflakes who got to serve Mass every day even at the height of the lockdown. I remember during Lent and Easter living at home doing school and yet also leaving in the mornings to serve a private Mass of just me and my parish priest. Serving the entire Triduum (the special liturgical services on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil) with just me, another seminarian, and a priest will be a memory that I keep with me. It was so odd to look out at the empty parish and wonder why I got to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist every day instead of the many parishioners I knew who were far holier and more deserving of it. In that sense, I have never had to experience the "spiritual ache" that so many others have had.

Rather, it was formative to me in other ways. First, it made me very grateful for the vocation that I have which, it cannot be denied, affords me certain privileges that others do not have. Along with that, it reinforced in my head that I am not where I am because I am better and more deserving than others, and I have often considered the thought that I had access to the sacraments because I am weaker than others and would have floundered more than they did.

I also experienced the consoling power of intercessory prayer. When I realized how fortunate I was and read so many of my friends discussing their struggles without Mass, I got inspired and began asking them for prayer intentions that I could begin offering up Masses for. This, along with the experience as a whole, helped me to understand the communal reality of the Church. Mass and the Eucharist are not my own private devotions, my own time to pray about me and my problems, but they truly draw together the whole Body of Christ together in common worship of God. The Church Triumphant is of course present at Mass, but there is something truly missing when more than 90% of the Catholics here on earth are not permitted to take part in Mass. I remember the first time we were allowed to have people back in Mass, and it was an incredibly beautiful and powerful experience -- life came back in to what had felt increasingly stale and dour.

Jazakallah. Thank you for sharing. Are you a Priest now? 

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