Last Easter Sunday was the loneliest one yet. Instead of joining with throngs of celebrants at church, I heard Mass through YouTube. No rush of palms the week before, either, nor via crucis processions on Good Friday.
This year promises to be a little better. Ever since lockdown lifted in our city, I’ve been able to attend Sunday Mass regularly these past six months. Still fewer people than pre-pandemic times but enough to feel part of a community again.
It’s still a far cry than before, though, when I used to be able to go to Mass daily. Previously I had built up a network of familiar strangers and even made a few friends. I have to say, I miss my old church fellows and I wonder how they are now. (I would add, though, that this change in schedule owes more to raising a daughter who wakes up regularly at six.)
This experience has not been without its gift. I have come to realize that my attendance at daily Mass had become mechanical, a little too automatic. It was and still is central to my faith, but perhaps its ready accessibility had also made me a little tepid, maybe even a little arrogant, like the pharisee who extolled his own virtues.
Now I have to find other expressions of my faith, as in meditation and spiritual reading. Not as easy as it sounds, not because of the current environment, but simply because, for me, they never were. Like Martha, I have tended to push time for personal prayer aside in favor of the busy things. This is the struggle of Christian life, I suppose, how to grow so as to escape from the clutches of a lukewarm heart.