Staying Spiritually and Physically Fit During Social Distancing
March 26, 2020
Are you feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and out of sorts?
While trying to preserve some sense of normalcy during these upside-down days, here are three things that I’m pledging to do daily. Perhaps you would you like to join me?
Attend online Mass
Thanks to the generosity and resourcefulness of our priests, we can livestream Mass right into the comfort and safety of our homes. Daily Mass has never been easier. This experience has given me an increased understanding and appreciation for what the Church refers to as spiritual communion.
I used to view spiritual communion in a sort of negative light. It represented to me what I couldn’t have – the Body and Blood of Our Lord – in the absence of the species. But thanks to a new video series entitled “Closing the Social Distance” by the Dominican Friars of St. Gertrude, I now see things differently. I realize the very goal of receiving communion in its physical form is in fact a spiritual communion – a graced communion with Jesus.
A good spiritual communion, the Friars explain, requires an act of faith, hope and love. Fr. Henry Stephan describes it this way. Is as though we are saying to Our Lord,
Lord Jesus come into my heart. I wish you to be in ever closer union with me. I wish you to take me and make me part of yourself. Help incorporate me into your body and blood. That I may become more and more a part of you. And that all of my joys and sorrows, all of the good things and bad in my life may be united to you.
Tuning into online Mass during this period of confinement to our homes can deepen our desire to receive the Eucharist and develop a real and keen appreciation for what a great blessing it is to be in union with Christ.
Pray the Rosary
Countless saints and popes throughout the ages have echoed Our Lady’s request to pray the rosary daily. Now is an ideal time to pick up the habit or deepen an already existing practice of praying the rosary.
In the absence of being able to physically attend daily Mass, praying the rosary has taken on a new meaning for me.
Have you ever considered how the rosary is a meditation on what the Holy Mass is?
After the consecration at Mass, the Church calls to mind the Lord’s passion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. This is the high point of the Mass, a memorial of what occurred during Christ’s visible stay on earth and as a pledge of what he continues to do invisibly through the Eucharist. In short, the Holy Mass is a sacramental presentation of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord.
And the holy rosary is a meditation on these very mysteries.
Our Lady told Blessed Alan de la Roche, “After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I love as much as the rosary.” Thus, it seems fitting to arm ourselves with the power of the rosary during these challenging times.
Take a Walk Outside
Taking time for a walk outside has both spiritual and physical benefits. Our Christian anthropology reminds us that we are body and soul composition. St. Paul tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are to glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor 6:19-20). We do this by taking care of our bodies.
Walking outside connects us to nature and puts us into touch with the Creator. God’s presence and love are not distant things but realities all around us every day. A bird, a tree, a flower, are all manifestations of God’s presence in the world. A stroll around the neighborhood or a park invites us to pause and gaze at the wonder of creation. It clears the mind and keeps us active while nurturing our spiritual and physical being.
Yesterday while I was out walking (keeping a six-foot distance from others ) I found myself delighting in the life around me. The divine life visible in creation itself as well as the life present in all of the people out walking, running, riding bikes and tending to their yards and gardens. As St. John Paul II exhorts in the theology of the body, human beings are created for union. We are wired for relationship and connection. This is why social distancing is difficult. It goes against our inherent nature.
And so, my friends, I invite you today, to break away from work and perhaps the noise and distractions within your home. Set aside time for Mass, the rosary, and a walk outdoors. And if want to be really efficient, try praying the rosary while you walk!
To help you, we are excited to offer you our brand new rosary app: Mission to Love. Each set of mysteries features beautiful recordings of children praying the rosary with meditations from the On a Mission to Love prayer book. You can access the app HERE on your phone, tablet, or desktop device.
So, grab your earbuds and iPhone, lace up those sneakers, and head outside for your daily dose of spiritual and physical nourishment. Stay healthy!
Written by Debbie Staresinic
Debbie serves on the Board of Directors at Ruah Woods Press (RWP) in Cincinnati, a non-profit ministry committed to spreading the message of Theology of the Body (TOB) throughout the world. Debbie is the author of two rosary books written through the lens of TOB – On a Mission to Love: Rosary Meditations for Children and Families and Theology of the Body Rosary Meditations: Contemplating Christ’s Love for His Bride the Church. All of the proceeds from the books support RWP’s Rooted: K-12 Theology of the Body Curriculum