As panic rises across the world we have no choice but to turn to God even more. Despite doctors and scientists working around the clock we must face the reality that there is only so much that they can do too and this is a very sobering reality.
These situations put is in front of our powerlessness as human beings even in 2020.
Padre Pio said:
Of course he’s not suggesting to ‘pray, hope and do nothing’ but that whatever you do choose to do, do it with hope and without worry!
To some this sounds silly because they don’t fully understand the value of prayer nor do they see how one can ‘not worry’ when we are faced with inevitable deaths all around us!
How do we not worry in the face of worry and stay positive in the middle of what seems very negative?
Let’s ask Our Lady!
How did she keep hope and faith in her heart and yet watch Jesus dying, knowing that God wasn’t going to save him?
The answer is faith! Even in the face of death she knew and understood that God had a plan and that she trusted.
God wasn’t asking her to save Jesus, He was asking her to surrender Jesus in absolute trust.
Similarly in the face of this virus we too must surrender. There is only so much we can do and God will take some people. It may sound grim but if we place our trust in God then we can join Our Lady in faith and hope, trusting that God is good and that despite the current suffering and painful deaths that will happen that He has a higher plan.
Recently where I’m staying here in London there has been a bit of tension in the house between faith and science.
Some come from medical backgrounds and of course see the current crisis through those eyes. Others like me come from a more spiritual perspective and see the crises from that viewpoint.
Yet we are all seeing the same thing!
Tensions and arguments between faith and science are sad and unnecessary.
This morning as I considered it my mind cast back to Australia where my friend Julie was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.
She was a charismatic woman and strongly believed in the healing power of Jesus and in prayer she believed that Jesus told her that she would be healed.
She also went to hospital and followed all the doctors advice, chemotherapy etc. I had the privilege of driving her to the hospital in Sydney a few times and sitting with her. She had irish blood and loved my accent!
Meanwhile we all prayed both with her and for her as we trusted in God for her life!
In the end God had the last laugh and I had the honour of reading at her funeral a few months later.
Prayer didn’t heal her, the doctors didn’t heal her, God took her.
Yet Julie remained full of hope and surrender right up to the end because she was not afraid of death.
Like Our Lady, she knew in her heart that God’s plans are beyond human death. She trusted.
For her friends it was a good lesson that God is in control and whether we are doctors or priests or healers that ultimately it’s out of our hands.
We must surrender.
Only when we adapt this attitude will we have peace and will we be able to ‘pray, hope and don’t worry’.
We must make ourselves very small before God and accept while we must and should do all we can to live that one day too we will die.
From this place we can surrender to Jesus and live in trust no matter what happens.
Some who haven’t had the gift of meeting Jesus personally are terrified at the moment while others are dying very painful deaths both physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Jesus urged us through saint Faustina to pray the divine mercy chaplet for the dying with promises that our prayers can bring them much spiritual assistance.
While we must not lose hope of lives being saved we must accept the reality of many dying and prayerfully surrender them to God’s mercy.
We must also accept our own fate and surrender ourselves too! Only this morning I read that the virus can apparently linger on plastic bags for hours and so despite our best hygiene practices we still could get it!
So today let us pray. Let this period be a beautiful time of spirituality, humanity, prayer and charity.
Let it return us to the basics, our need for God and let it bring us to a place of surrender and understanding of the ways of God, the mystery of suffering and ultimately the promise of the resurrection!
And so Padre Pio repeats;
And if you are not a prayer person, now is as good a time as any to start.
Bless you all and especially bless the sick and dying and all doctors and nurses helping them.