We are in the Easter season – a time of joy because the Lord is Risen! But joy can be difficult for many to find these days. With the COVID-19 crisis, many are anxious, unemployed, or sick. Is it possible to find joy even in the midst of suffering?
Offering her own perspective as a mother of seven, Emily said, “I love the Morning Offering, when you focus on giving God your joys and your sorrows. And I think that’s the reality for many of us. There’s a lot of joy that can come in this season of difference and difficulties. But there’s also that sorrow over what isn’t there – if it was employment, or if it is having to adjust to everyone being home.”
“There’s also a lot of joy,” Emily continued. “And I think it’s good timing that we are now in the Easter season and we can say the word ‘Alleluia!’ We can really turn to the joy of our faith and know that the Lord wants to pull us out of whatever difficulty we’re going through, and really carry us and walk with us as our friend.”
If you’re not feeling particularly joyful this Easter, Emily suggested focusing on the virtue of hope. If you are struggling, life may feel more like one long Good Friday rather than an Easter Sunday. In these times, it is important that we cling to hope. Jesus also experienced suffering in his crucifixion and death. But we know that was not the end of the story. If you feel like you are carrying your cross right now, praying for hope can be the path to finding joy.
“I do see this as carrying a cross,” Emily emphasized. “And I think that talking about these struggles, acknowledging these struggles is really, really important. For many of us, we’ve had wage reductions, we’re going through the process of unemployment. There’s a real pause in our life. And I think that this is an opportunity to acknowledge what it feels like to carry the cross. And yet there is joy! So it’s an opportunity to have hope and also to acknowledge the difficulty. To do that, we really need to be grounded in our own prayer life.”
During times of suffering it can be difficult to pray. And if you are out of your normal routine that can have a huge affect on your prayer life. But even during times of social distancing, it’s helpful to have other people to pray with and for you.
“I just encourage everyone to pray with the people that you live with,” she said. “If you’re living alone, pick up the phone, call, and pray with your children or someone from the parish. We really need to develop those deep wells of prayer, and when we are praying our goal is to have our will be like God, the Father. Conforming to that comes through prayer.”
“It’s so, so important that our gratitude doesn’t come from looking toward the material things in our life. But really having the prayer life so we can see what God’s doing here. Because he always brings good out of anything that might not appear to be good at first.”
Listen to the full conversation below: