The Catholic faithful in the Diocese of Providence and throughout many dioceses of the United States have received unprecedented news this week: the suspension of all public Masses and other liturgical services. Such a suspension of public Mass is a new phenomenon in the lives of Catholics. What are we to do?
In our spiritual lives we are meant to train ourselves to love Jesus Christ. Concretely this means learning to love Him in the Eucharist at Mass. We become spiritually mature when we see the Mass not simply as an obligation, but as the source and summit of our lives. Unfortunately, situations may arise in which we cannot attend the Mass. This may be due to sickness, old age, a lack of priests, political turmoil, and so on. Throughout history there have been periods when the Catholic faithful have gone without the Mass.
In these times we remember that the Mass and the Eucharist are a supreme gift from God that we should not take for granted. We look forward to the day when we can once again go to Mass. Until then, we ask our Lord to increase our desire for Him in the Mass. As the Psalmist writes, “My soul thirsts for God… My soul yearns for the courts of the Lord.” We encourage the faithful to watch the Mass on TV, or internet, continue one’s prayers, read the scriptures for the day, and make an “Act of Spiritual Communion.”