Virtual Church and Spiritual Frugality.
One of the intriguing elements I found fascinating in the Ignatian Spirituality is the “Finding God in all things”, in other words, to find God in every situation.
It has been widely reported that the self-confinement imposed by COVID-19 has taught us a frugal way of living many aspects of our lives. Right. And the frugality that touched me particularly in these times is what I would call a “spiritual frugality”.
No in-person church, no Easter retreat, no in-person Easter Vigil, and so on. Never before, have I imagined that I would enjoy a virtual mass that much, or even take it seriously. TV masses have rather seemed to me like a second-class mass.
However, with the self-confinement, I found in the virtual mass a way to relate to the most vulnerable, the sick and the old who don’t have the privilege of attending an in-person mass, and for whom a mass online or on TV has always been the only option to attend mass.
On Friday, March 27, I was attending the Toronto-based Daily TV Mass on YouTube, and the celebrant, Fr. Michael Coutts S.J. spoke beautifully about virtual churches and virtual parishes. I found a richness in the virtual church, a surprising richness in the “spiritual frugality’’ of this time. That richness also resides in the possibility of listening again to a homily we enjoyed, which is not really possible with an in-person mass.
The richness also holds true for the many choices we have now, when searching for an online mass: the Pope’s daily mass in his Santa Marta’s chapel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDeifPRaF7Q) or the daily mass of the Word on Fire from the chapel of bishop Robert Barron (https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass/), and the many other parishes that shifted their masses online.
Certainly, it is also a privilege to have the device and the Internet connection to attend a virtual mass. For those who do not have the means to attend virtual masses, may they find God in the frugality of their current daily lives.