The arrival of the coronavirus may well mean we have our best Lent yet!

Now before we begin a trip down a wacky road let’s be clear I did not say God sent the coronavirus. Whatever about debating God’s allowing it, let’s state at the outset sickness suffering and disease are not from God. God is Love. Jesus is the Great Healer. He is Lord. He is the Lord of Life. You and I as sisters and brothers of Jesus are children of the Light. The Lord’s desire and dream for us is rooted in love, joy and freedom. He takes no delight in seeing us stuck, bound, miserable and unhappy.

These are challenging dfficult days. There is the challenge of new hygiene practices, the challenge of a new awareness of health and a renewed consciousness around our human fragility.

We are learning a new language. A language we would prefer not to be acquainted with. The language of virus, contamination, symptoms and isolation. Who would have thought we would be bumping elbows or trying to measure a metre between each other!

Today as I write, the news is dominated by closures, postponements and cancellations. The immediate implication of this is that most of us are going to find ourselves with big chunks of time on our hands. So more time to train the dog, to catch up on a movie, to get a serious amount of reading done, to do press ups!

But hey it’s Lent! Imagine if we used a little of this time to feed our soul! To become spiritually fitter! To prepare to celebrate Easter this year in a way that has not been previously possible.

The Coronavirus is bad news. It is not good. It is a serious threat. We are morally obliged to take care of ourselves and each other by listening carefully and implementing the advice we our getting from our wonderful health professionals. To accompany all this, here is a possible mini spiritual work out:

Read about or google your patron or favourite saint.

Pray a rosary for all who are sick.

Go on a prayer walk carrying with you your favourite piece of Scripture.

Spend thirty minutes in total and sacred silence listening deeply for the whisper of the Holy Spirit.

Pray the Stations of the Cross walking in the company of the suffering Jesus.

Spend thirty minutes listening to sacred music it’s balm for the soul.

Spend an hour in the presence of the Lord in the most profound prayer of Eucharistic Adoration.

Write a letter to Jesus including the words thank you, I am sorry and I love you!

Make a list of those you have loved and those who have loved you. Now add the names of those who did not show you love, or indeed those who hurt you. Slowly whisper their names asking the Lord to give them his peace.

P.S. A word of warning. There is a a very beautiful concept called HOLY RESIGNATION. This is where we hand over our future, our lives to the Lord. We do this knowing he loves us and responds to a contrite heart with his great mercy. However this does not allow us to abdicate our responsibility to be good citizens. It certainly does not allow us to be sloppy or indifferent to the important things we are being asked to do regarding hygiene, respiratory etiquette and social distancing.

So do we trust in God at all? Of course we do and holy resignation is a beautiful act of love for the Lord AFTER we have done absolutely everything to show our love of God, others and ourselves.

Fraternally, Joe McD


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