Though everyone across the globe has been instructed to keep a healthy distance away from one another during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one who can still be kept very close at hand.

“Stay connected with God. Take a few minutes, maybe several times a day, to sit quietly before God, simply loving and trusting him with your life,” said Sister of St. Joseph Marcy Springer, director of Francis House of Prayer, Allentown.

“We know that Lent is traditionally a desert time. Our current situation invites us into a desert unlike any other we have experienced,” she said.

Redemptorist Father John Collins, rector and director of San Alfonso Retreat House, Long Branch, agrees.

“This may not be the Lent we wanted, but it is the Lent we have been given,” he said. “We have the choice to view what is happening as an invitation, a summons or an opportunity, or as a burden, baggage or punishment. How we view it should be as an opportunity to remember God’s graces.”

Recognizing that during the isolation of a quarantine “people can be overwhelmed with fear,” Father Collins said, “It is important to make conscious contact with God through prayer or music, to take care to foster inner peace. You can be of the mindset that this [pandemic] is powerful, but we have the choice as to how to view it.”

One powerful point to remember is that “we are all in this together,” he noted, and advised those suffering to take action and continue to pray.

“God promised to be with us in all things,” Father Collins said. “We have all known painful times, but we have found our way through it with the grace of God. Look at this as an invitation to quiet down, to reach out to people, to get more deeply in touch with the state of your heart. There is grace.”

Sister Marcy, too, stressed the importance of remembering that God is in all things and can use all things for good.

“You are never alone,” she said. “God has a personal and unconditionally loving relationship with you and wants to share your life with you. Let [him] into all the nooks and crannies of your being and trust that God is present.”

Prayer need not be adapted to the current circumstances, which may be filled with pandemic-related stress. Instead, let prayer simply flow from the heart,  she said.

“The best way to pray is the way you pray best,” she advised. “Use your favorite ways … Keep your prayer simple, [and] God will keep you peaceful.”

She continued,“Remember that we are in solidarity with all our brothers and sisters around the globe. We are all one in being human, and we are all one in this suffering. This crisis helps us know experientially how one we are. Trust God to bring good out of all this chaos.”