IN a Survey initiated by Radio Veritas, which used a stratified sample of 1,200 respondents nationwide for a +/- 3% margin of error (gathered through a text-based and online data gathering process) the information yielded the respondents’ perception on the resumption of Church Masses in MECQ/GCQ Areas (inclusive of the survey dates covering May 1-15, 2020).
Results of which are as follows: Overall, 62% of the respondents wanted for Church Masses to resume in MECQ/GCQ areas (with strict social distancing & hygienic practices) while 16% refused its resumption and 22% remained undecided. When analyzed geographically those living in the Visayas had the highest desire for reopening at 90%, followed by Mindanao at 80% then Luzon at 55%. Conversely those who objected to the resumption were high among Luzon residents at 30%, followed by Visayas at 7% then Mindanao at 3%. Finally, those who were undecided were high for respondents in Mindanao at 17%, followed by those in Luzon at 15% then finally in the Visayas at 3%.
This Spiritual hunger for Church Masses to resume is indicative for the need to maintain Spiritual Wellness in the midst of COVID19. Social Distancing will remain the greatest challenge to Spiritual Wellness because it will hamper religious gatherings within the Faith experience of Catholic Devotees. In so doing here are some practical tips we can do to help ease these challenges:
CREATE A NEW MINDSET – instead of seeing the negativity of being home isolated why not see the opportunity of having more time for a home-based “spiritual retreat”. Use the chance to step away from everyday life and focus on yourself and your connection to your spirituality, no matter what forms that takes shape in your life. If you find yourself being worn down by stress at work, home, and elsewhere in your life, this home retreat given by our ECQ/MECQ/GCQ status is an excellent opportunity to learn (in real time) from various spiritual exercises to guide us towards the feeling we want to achieve: inner peace. John F. Kennedy famously said: “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters—one represents danger and one represents opportunity”.
GIVE MORE TIME FOR PRAYER AND SILENCE - with relatively more time in our hands due to our current state of being “home quarantined”, many of us can now find the time for prayer and silence. "True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that --- it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth” (Charles Spurgeon). While on the other hand, silence “is a gateway to the soul, and the soul is the gateway to God”. (Benedictine Christopher Jamison of Worth Abbey). Let us remember the counsel of St. Mother Teresa: “The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace”. In our noise-polluted world, it is even difficult to hear our inner self let alone try to be quiet and discern the will of God. Thus, moments like this for prayer and silence must be befriended as fertile ground for intimacy with God.
READ MORE SPIRITUAL BOOKS - reading good spiritual books is one of the best investments one can make with time and money. The eventual reality remains the same that religious book has the power to heal and rejuvenate. Good books are known for the everlasting impression, which they leave in the reader’s life. And, speaking of books why not start reading the best spiritual book --- the BIBLE. “What is God’s plan for my life?” The Bible’s counsels, guidelines, instructions and reassurances give us very concrete and dependable awareness into God’s will for us in every facet of life. The Bible encompasses all the teaching that we need to come to a life of true virtue and uprightness. It teaches us how we can follow Christ in truth. It contains words and examples from heroes of faith, prophets, apostles, Jesus Christ and God Himself.
And REDISCOVER THE E-CHURCH – “When God closes a Church Door, He Opens a Browser Window” (Kate Shellnutt). In the past, our Church Social Communication Platforms (digital media) only complement in-person gatherings, providing access for those who are sick or traveling or serves as an alternative to those who prefer to access spiritual resources online. But now our current health crisis has transformed our virtual resources as a lifeline to crucially provide spiritual wellness despite our current ECQ/GCQ social gathering restrictions. From the Vatican, to the parish community (barangay) church, shuttered places of worship are streaming liturgical and religious services for an online audience seeking guidance and connections with others during the pandemic. All your spiritual needs is a just a click away. And, if connectivity is a problem we can still readily rely on our traditional forms of mass communication --- Radio Veritas and TV Maria will always be there to provide the needed programs through its regular broadcast.
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