As of this writing, it’s not yet the 14th where I sit, but it is in the Eastern Hemisphere. So if you’re there and haven’t started yet, Pope Francis has an assignment for us:
Prayer is a means to communicate with and listen to God. In this spirit, I have welcomed the invitation of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity to dedicate tomorrow, 14 May, to prayer, fasting, and works of charity. I invite and encourage everyone to join in this event. May we unite as brothers and sisters in asking the Lord to save humanity from the pandemic, to enlighten scientists, and to heal the sick. May the Lord bless each one of you, and always protect you from every evil.
Prayer is pretty easy. There are any number of single prayers or longer ones online for the time of pandemic. How about this adaptation of the Act of Resignation:
O Lord, my God,
from this day
I accept from your hand
willingly and with submission,
the kind of life
that it may please you to send me,
with all its sorrows, pains, and anguish.
Into your hands, O Lord,
I commend my spirit.
Scripture is good, too. Perhaps a psalm of mercy, like the 103rd.
Fasting can come easy to us. Sweets, meats, alcohol, the internet. I have one I’m going to try: I’m not going to speak unless spoken to. I’ll put an advance post up here for Redemptoris Missio. Then see y’all on Friday.
Charity brings to mind a penance/act of satisfaction I was once assigned after confession. Ask the Lord to show me one thing he wishes me to do on this particular day. Then accept the assignment willingly, doing something for a family member, a neighbor, a co-worker. Or better, something for a needy person near where I live.
Image: the American Henry Ossawa Tanner’s interpretation of John 3:1-21.