Good morning!

Usually Monday mornings can be that time when we say “O no, not again” and reach for more coffee!

And yet this Monday for many of us is very different and we are perhaps missing the ‘good old days’ when everything seemed stable!

As more and more businesses are shutting down many people are not working today while others are working from home.

Some will find it hard to fill in the time at home. Here in London the sports shops are empty of personal training equipment such as weights etc. Board games like Monopoly have never been sold in such numbers!

And then for others this Monday means more work. Doctors and nurses will be working around the clock and will have no time for the gym or monopoly.

This is an acute time for them and they need all our prayers and moral support.

And here in the church things are changing too. Many have no mass to go to this morning and their routines are totally out of sorts while for others it’s a question of reaching out spiritually in different ways such as over the phone and internet.

Others will find themselves in very tricky situations and will need a lot of wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit to get the right balance in maintaining the spiritual health of the people without being a danger to their physical health!

It truly is a very delicate situation and as Catholics makes us ask a lot of questions!

Our faith is incarnational and so not only do we have a lot of prayers, we have a lot of objects!

We have the real presence of Jesus in the eucharist but it doesn’t stop there! Other ‘holy objects’ we have include relics, medals, buildings, oils, water etc.

As Catholics we believe that spiritual blessings and protections are attached to these objects. Holy oil is not the same as ordinary oil. It has a spiritual quality the ordinary oil doesn’t have. The same is true with holy water.

Science of course can’t quantify this or even verify this and what is even more tricky is the fact that just because water or oil is holy does not mean that it is sanitary!

And so here is our current dilemma as Catholics! We have our holy oils and waters which could potentially heal us with its spiritual components and potentially kill us with physical components (if it had germs of the coronavirus for example).

Our challenge is thus to be smart! Just as many people have hand sanitizer, we can also go to our churches and fill up a personal bottle of Holy water for ourselves and our homes.

Holy water etc. hasn’t lost it’s place and value, we must simply avoid all dipping our hands in the same pot!

When it comes to other things we can perhaps adapt the same approach. Wash thoroughly, wear protective clothing should we be in a hospital and not stand too close by.

The priest, the spiritual doctor has a difficult job finding the right balance and needs our support, prayers and ideas.

It’s an opportunity for us all to work together and find how science and prayer, doctor and priests can better work together for the health of individuals in mind, body and soul.

Pope Francis is leading this army and so far I think that he’s doing a great job.

He’s calling us all to prayer and to imploring the power of God while looking after our physical health.

Perhaps over the next few weeks he will come up with other ideas under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to how we can move forward for both our spiritual and physical wellbeing.

One thing is sure and that is that He needs our prayers. He is only a man and he finds himself in this very extraordinary situation with no prior experience as to how to handle it.

So today, as we contemplate the current world crisis, let us pray for both our church and political leaders that they may come together and in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect make the right decisions that will restore the physical and spiritual wellbeing of our nations.

“Come Holy Spirit with your seven gifts,

Lead us, guide us, mould us, make us and above all heal us in mind, body and spirit.”

Our Lady, pray for the whole world today. Into your hands we place our hopes.

Blessings to all,

Michael