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Facing the Coronavirus With Prayer

On Tuesday I wrote an article, “What are We to do Without the Mass” on how we can stay connected to God. There I spoke of the importance of the Eucharist in our lives and pointed to the new “Prayer Resources” page on our parish website.

This time of distress continues. As it does, we need to pray for medical care workers, their support staff, and emergency responders, to be kept safe and healthy as they work to care for the sick. We also need to pray for all government officials to have the wisdom they need to address the situation. We pray for all churches to find ways to support the needs of their parishioners. We pray for those sick with the Coronavirus. We pray for the repose of the souls who have died and for consolation for their families. We pray for a cure.

The restrictions on our lives continue to increase to protect us and minimize the spread of the virus. It started with school closings. We pray for the students, faculty, and staff. Now, we have restrictions that force people to work from home. The closing of businesses and the decrease in business for those who are open continues. We pray for those out of work or with diminished incomes because of the virus.

With many shelves empty in the stores, we pray that all have their basic needs fulfilled.

My intent here is not to add to anyone’s distress. I don’t think that I mentioned any challenges that most people aren’t already aware of. I list all of these things to remind us to pray for all these needs. We cannot gather together for worship and pray as we would like. We can pray in our own homes and with a common purpose.

Prayer is important. We need the connection to God. That’s why we need for each others and to pray for ourselves.

Remember, prayer is not simply a matter of giving our list of needs to God. Prayer is more than just petitions. Praying is about conversation with God. (cf. a video I did on prayer a few years ago, Talking About God: A Conversation About Prayer). We want God to listen to our prayers. We need to be willing to listen to God.

This does not mean that God will literally speak to us and give us precise direction. God speaks to us more in the heart than in the head. Of course, we need to listen to both, relying on “faith and reason.” Quieting ourselves in prayer is to help us be aware of God in the moment.

Think of it this way, when things are not going the way you want and you talk to another human being, what are you seeking? Sometimes we want the person to fix whatever our problem is. However, are there not times when we just want someone to listen? We just want them to be there for us.

This is true with God. Often, we ask God to fix things. Sometimes we just need to know God is there.

We certainly should pray that God would lead medical researchers to a cure for the Coronavirus. In addition to the earthly problems I mentioned above, it is also causing anxiety and distress. That’s where we just want someone to listen. We need a shoulder to cry on. God has big shoulders. God has big arms to hug us with so that we might have comfort and peace. Prayer is a conduit for this.

God did not cause the Coronavirus but, if we let him, God can use it to lead us to a deeper sense of prayer, to a deeper relationship with him. (Maybe it reminds us how important prayer already is to us.) It can remind us that God doesn’t want to be in our lives for just an hour on Sunday. He wants to be with us everyday. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith (Lumen Gentium, 11). I hope you miss receiving it. However, while you cannot receive the Eucharist, God is still present with you now and in every moment. Prayer helps us to know that.

I end with the words of Psalm 46:11, “Be still and know that I am God!”

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

One Comment

  1. Linda House says:

    Thank you Father Jeff for continuing to suggest ways we can relate to God during this quarantine. There is an emptiness, a void that needs to be filled. As I consider my faith without the Eucharist, mass and other church activities, I found this prayer model that I wanted to share. Maybe others will relate to it also as another means of communicating with God. https://www.living-prayers.com/topics/acts_prayer_model.html

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