(Please check out the prayer I found below!)
I don’t think anybody likes wearing a mask during this Covid-19 pandemic. I know I don’t.
But we don’t have to like it in order to do it.
Some feel quite sure that wearing a mask is unnecessary and either don’t often bother, wear them only when required by laws or local rules, or utterly refuse to wear them at all. Others put them on regularly, believing that it is better to be safe than sorry, having no wish to catch or spread a very contagious and potentially deadly virus.
My decision to mask is based on my own common sense and knowledge that airborne viruses can travel more than six feet (I’ve researched and been wary of viruses for decades because of my respiratory condition), the consensus of epidemiologists concerning SARS-CoV-2, and my loving sense of solidarity with my neighbor — who is also Christ’s neighbor. Although it’s not recommended that I wear a mask because I cannot physically take it off of my own face, I decided to mask anyway when I (very, very rarely) leave my house or if I gather with social-distancing in my own home with family from outside of my immediate household.
I have written before about my personal experience wearing a mask during the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Mass, a profoundly moving and enlightening experience. Breathing through a mask, I noticed, was also something that I got used to the more that I did it. I admire people who have to wear a mask every day, for it must be much more annoying and difficult. Perhaps, I wonder, this may also make it easier to get used to? There are very adamant anti-maskers out there, however. And I have truly tried to understand their point of view.
From what I can tell, sometimes they think that wearing a mask is blind submission to authority. But it is no more “sheeplike” than is stopping at a red traffic light in the city. Do they fear, perhaps, that breathing through a cloth to keep a virus from spreading sickness is a sign of lack of faith and trust in God? It’s surely no more faithless or un-trusting in God than is putting a bandage on a deep, open wound. Or maybe they believe that covering half of the face is somehow an inhuman desecration? But it’s no more dehumanizing than is getting around in a wheelchair or having deformity from facial surgery.
Many, I’m sure, simply feel that wearing a mask is unnecessary and a complete waste of time — but it’s no more wasteful and unnecessary than is being kind to your neighbor. Indeed, it seems to me that if acts of kindness and helpfulness to others is an essential part of your Faith — even in the littlest ways that may seem insignificant — then taking the preventative measure of wearing a mask in case you are unknowingly infected is an act of charity and a blessing to you.
None of this, of course, makes it any easier to mask up and deal with all of the discomfort, awkwardness, and difficulties.
But maybe this will help.
Recently, on a wonderful site out of Canterbury England, I came across a prayer (see it below) for donning a cloth mask during this pandemic. It was composed by a Presbyterian minister in Canada, the Rev. Richard Bolt. (Read the Agnellus’ Mirror post about the prayer HERE.) I just had to share it with you, dear reader. I hope that you share it as well, because some things should go viral. Like love.
Creator God, As I prepare to go into the world, help me to see the sacramental nature of wearing this cloth. Let it be a tangible and visible way of living love for my neighbours, as I love myself.
Christ Jesus, since my lips will be covered, uncover my heart, that people would see my smile in the crinkles around my eyes. Since my voice may be muffled, help me to speak clearly, not only with my words, but with my actions.
Holy Spirit, as the elastic touches my ears, remind me to listen carefully and caringly to all those I meet. May my simple piece of cloth be a shield and a banner, and may each breath that it holds be filled with your love. In your love and in that love I pray.
Human life is precious. I pray that we may fully live our lives of love in all of our choices, respecting and protecting every human, because every human is loved into being by God.
I am pro-masks. And I am completely and devotedly Pro-Life. Let’s think what being pro-life truly means during this pandemic and while we gravely mark the 48th anniversary of Roe V Wade.
© 2021 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.