The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply transformed the ways we experience Lent. Many of us might have been looking forward to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a part of our usual preparation to participate in the Lord’s Death and Resurrection, or as an opportunity to renew our relationship with God after a longer while. Now, it might be especially difficult to be stuck at home with the consciousness of our sinfulness and with a sense of regret. In this difficult time when the world and each of us desperately needs God’s mercy, it is of great significance that the Holy See offers a Plenary Indulgence to all faithful.* Normally, we are forgiven sin through Confession, but the sin continues to affect our ability to fully accept God’s love, and purification (in purgatory) from the consequences of sin is necessary before we can enter heaven. A Plenary Indulgence can free us from the necessity of such purification.
In order to receive Plenary Indulgence, one must renounce all sin in front of God. Additionally, one must unite oneself in prayer with the pope, who currently asks us to pray for the end of the pandemic, relief for those who are suffering as a result of it, and eternal life for those who have died. The forms of prayer for which the Holy See asks, and which can be done from home, include: reading the Bible for at least half an hour, practicing the Stations of the Cross, prayerfully participating in a virtual celebration of the Mass, or reciting of the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. This ought to be done with a sincere intention to receive the Sacraments of Confession and Eucharist as soon as possible.
While we may experience Lent differently this year than ever before, the current situation is a strong call for conversion and spiritual growth. The Holy See gives us an exceptional opportunity to do that through seeking Plenary Indulgence.