As this time of stay-at-home and social distancing continues, and as we begin to contemplate that it may continue in some form for quite a while longer, it is vital to maintain our spiritual, emotional and mental health.
One of the gifts of a growing prayer life is the calm, the “peace that passes all understanding” we can experience as a result. God meets us where we are, invites and carries us forward no matter what we might face.
Much of the Christian way has focused on practices that sharpen our focus, deepen our awareness and lessen our distraction and anxiety so we may serve God fully. Other traditions and religions may have similar elements, for a Christian their purpose is to draw us more fully into the union with God given at baptism and sustained by the Holy Spirit through Christ. Our end and purpose is new life in the new creation that has begun in Christ Jesus.
Throughout the ages some Christians have done this by separating from the world, enclosing themselves in community and marking the days by cycles of prayer. We who are enclosed by necessity and out of love for our neighbor can use this time to deepen our relationship with Christ and our prayer life.
Here are a few resources and ideas that may help seek the grace of God’s peace, and to approach these days and weeks differently. Hopefully there is something that may speak to you, and many need no prior background or information! (All are available on Amazon; those marked * are also available in Kindle and/or audiobook format.)
Walter Brueggemann, Sabbath as resistance, Saying NO to the CULTURE OF NOW (study guide also available)
Joan Chittister, O.S.B., The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages
*Bishop Michael Curry, The Power of Love
*Bishop Michael Curry Love is the Way: Holding onto Hope in Troubling Times (pre-order only)
*Becky Eldridge, Busy Lives & Restless Souls
*John Main, Word Into Silence, A manual for Christian Meditation
*Brendan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
*James Martin, S.J., Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy Laughter and Humor Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness
*Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer
*Phyllis Tickle, The Night Offices
Judith Valente and Charles Reynard, Twenty Poems to Nourish Your Soul
*Dave Worster, I pray in poems, Meditations on Poetry and Faith
*Beth-Sarah Wright, Becoming Who I Am; Reflections on Wholeness and Embracing our Divine Stories