I’m sure you’ve encountered this situation before: you are sick, or a family member you care for is sick, and it’s Sunday. In those situations, you are not obligated to go to Mass, but that doesn’t exempt you from following the Third Commandment: Keep Holy the Sabbath.
Our current situation is similar. We have been dispensed from our Sunday obligation to attend Mass, and public Masses aren’t even available. Most Catholics in the United States and several other countries are in this situation right now. But I haven’t seen that any Bishops have dispensed us from the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. For many of us, myself included, the main way we have done this in the past – up until last week – was by Sunday Mass attendance. This Sunday then, we are faced with a dilemma, one that we probably have not thought about before. What ways can we intentionally make the Sabbath holy when Mass is not available?
We have some suggestions for connecting to the Liturgy of the Mass even when you can’t be physically present.
Live Stream Mass: No, it’s not the same as going to Mass but it is what we have. For the time being, our Parish has Live Stream Sunday Masses at 10 am and 12:30 pm (Latin). EWTN has regularly scheduled Live Stream Masses, for when our current crisis passes. Many parishes and priests are live streaming Masses right now. Pick a parish that has special meaning for you: the Church you were baptized in, the Church you were married in, the Parish you grew up in, or one that some of your relatives attend now. You can travel to so many parishes virtually! You can currently stream the Pope’s Mass, or the Mass of your parish priest, or Bishop Barron, or any number of others. The internet has the times, places, and information!
Set up a place for prayer in your home: Check out our previous post on this one. Praying at home is distracting, but there are ways to minimize that!
Do Lectio Divina on the Readings: You can do this individually, or as a family, and it can be as simple as you like. Magnificat has their reflections free right now or our Formed subscription has reading reflections and a guide for leading reflections.
Pray the Liturgy of the Hours: This is a liturgy we can participate in, and throughout Lent the daily prayers have connection to the Mass. The Liturgy of the Hours is a bit complicated to pick up, but there are apps, like iBreviary, that can make it easier.
Lectio Divina and the Liturgy of the Hours are not just for times when you can't go to Mass, but can be used to make Sunday more holy every single Sunday!
What suggestions do you have? What are your plans for living Sunday as a Catholic this week?