Brothers and sisters in recovery, how are you faring in our current state of affairs? For a month now we have been restricted from many of our usual daily activities. This means we haven’t been able to attend in-person recovery meetings, Mass, or the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as spend time with many of our loved ones.
In this state of isolation, we have been forced to do things differently, which can be frightening for people in recovery as many of us have routines that keep us centered and balanced. While this is understandable, might God be nudging us to something greater for our own personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of others?
Is He perhaps inviting us to quit leaning on our own familiarity and drawing us more fully into Him? In my daily inventory, I have been asking myself: Do I live in fear or faith? In despair or hope? In doubt or trust? In love or disdain? Is God calling me to trust in His plan of restoration no matter the cost?
Psalm 139:13-16 reads, “You formed me in my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are your works; my very self you know.” Is the Lord using this time of uncertainty to reform each of our souls, those who are the work of His hands, in new and glorious ways for a world crying out that has lost faith, hope, and love?
I believe so, but in order to allow him to do this work, we must remain close to him, especially now.
For many years, when I walked past my daughter’s room that is now vacant (we are empty nesters) I would stop, look in, and hear a whisper deep within saying, Why is this room empty? I prayed whether God was calling me to fill it with children through adoption or foster care but couldn’t be sure. More recently, I nearly invited my great-nephew to live with my husband and me in this room. He has had a rough go of life and is heading down the same path of destruction that I once took but God revealed that this was not the right decision, either. Yet, I still felt God wanted something of this empty room in my home.
And then, like a “thief in the night,” the pandemic struck.
With churches open one day and closed the next, I found myself dazed but knew that this was how it had to be. My daily routine of Mass and receiving the Eucharist as well as regularly going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic adoration was gone.
But then, as I was staring into that empty room with overwhelming sadness, I heard a whisper:
Turn this empty room into a chapel, a place where I can dwell with you in a temple of sacrificial love. Make this an intimate place where I can speak to you, my beloved daughter. I desire a richness and a closeness where we can both share our most intimate moments since I long for my children to spend time with me!
I was suddenly struck with the realization that I had everything in my house to construct this sacred space with items that had been given as gifts or that I had purchased over the last 14 years. I was like a little kid running in amazement from room to room gathering up my treasures! I began turning the room into a sacred space.
The room now has a beautiful image of the Blessed Mother as well as the Divine Mercy image of Jesus. My Bible, journal, and daily devotionals One Day at a Time and Jesus Calling are there. It includes my most cherished rosaries, holy water, holy oils, blessed salt, and a small statue of the crucified Christ with his mother at His feet. It also has two blessed Our Lady of Guadalupe candles, a pieta statue which glows in the dark, and a kneeler that I won at a church benefit dinner a few years ago.
God’s timing is perfect. For the last 30 days, He and I have cried together, laughed together, and pondered together in this sacred space. I have experienced the virtual gifts of Mass, Eucharistic adoration, and the recitation of the rosary with many faithful and holy priests in this space. I have also attended virtual recovery meetings through Catholic in Recovery and AA as well as connected with family and friends in this space as well.
My chapel is now a permanent dwelling place in my home. And so, while we may not have access to Mass and our churches during this time of uncertainty, we can still create a sacred space, both in our homes and in our hearts, to be present with our loving God. I believe God is calling us, during this time of social distancing and isolation, to turn more deeply and intimately to him in prayer. That he is asking us to create a space for Him to dwell so that we can better proclaim God’s love to a world in much need of it.
What does your sacred space look like? How might you create one that can help you stay connected to God and others? Remember, our loving God eagerly awaits to spend time with you in loving intimacy!
Kathleen Ann, by God’s grace, has been clean and sober since June 1, 2006. She is an active member of AA, CIR, and works part-time as the Project Rachel Coordinator in the Life office at the Diocese of Rockford, where she helps gently and confidentially guide those wounded by abortion to hope and healing in Christ Jesus. On most days you can find her at daily Mass, the gym, or caring for the needs of her family, young and old alike.