Another great nugget from Fr. Benedict Kiely.
Our Church has reopened for private devotion. Each day from 10am-12pm people can come and pray before the sacrament thanks to the generosity and help of our volunteer team. So far we have seen a slow but steady trickle of visitors, which is exactly what we want. It enables us to remain well within the protocols set by the diocese to minimise risk of infection.
2020 has been a dark and challenging time for our nation. Many people remain frightened and pessimistic as we face the dual threats of pandemic and economic collapse. Part of this fear is due to an unbalanced media. My pastoral advice then is to turn off the TV and stop reading gloomy articles ad nauseam. Instead try to look for positives without denying the challenge. Here then are five earthly reasons, and five spiritual reasons, to give thanks to God this day.
5 Earthly reasons for good cheer:
- The virus is on the wane throughout the UK. It may resurface, there may be future waves, nevertheless it is GOOD NEWS that both infection rates and deaths are falling on a daily basis.
- London recorded below average deaths for June. This confirms the fact that many of those who have died of Covid were going to die this year anyway. Which means the risk to healthy people is much lower than it might appear on paper. Death in old age is perfectly normal and not to be feared and we must hold this fact before us.
- Medical knowledge is improving. You will have read about a new drug that cuts deaths of the gravely sick by a third. This is excellent news and shows our ability to tackle Covid 19 only improves as time goes on. So does the chance of finding an effective vaccine.
- The virus is safer than first feared. When the nation went into lockdown forecasts from Imperial college suggested a worst case scenario of 500,000 deaths. In reality the situation globally has been better. This virus is nasty, especially for those with compromised immunity, but we are not yet facing a situation as bleak as the bubonic plague.
- We will get over this. History shows that pandemics come and go. And a virus tends to decrease in potency over time so as not to kill off its host just as the hosts gain strength as herd immunity is reached. There will be an end to this disaster.
5 spiritual reasons for good cheer
- Death is not the end The central message of Christian faith is that we need not fear death, indeed worst thing that can happen to us like loss of supernatural faith! We believe in eternal life with God. So even if we should die of Covid, or be buried under the patio by a lunatic- we need not despair. Christ awaits his fold with a heart of love.
- Churches are open for prayer Whilst we all want to see Mass resume and the life of the church open up again church doors have now opened. Time before the sacrament in prayer is good for the soul.
- Daily mass has continued. Every single day of this pandemic the altars in our little church were active. You may not have been able to attend but priests, across the world, offered Mass on your behalf.
- Hedonism challenged Throughout scripture man tends to lose God when life is comfortable and rediscovers him in times of challenge. Man lost faith in Eden but found him again in the wilderness. Many people are now questioning life in a serious way. I believe this could lead many to find Christ if we evangelise effectively.
- God is good Whenever economic collapse and pandemic face us we can fear for the future. It is easy to grow gloomy and focus only on what has been taken instead of looking to the future with hope. But reflect a moment and there are plenty of reasons for cheer even in the midst of crisis; families have had time together, nature is flourishing, people are challenging injustices like racism. Good will come from this period of history as well as bad. Seek it in prayer.