“Jesus, I trust in you. Increase my trust.” This prayer I learned from St. Faustina powers me through many anxious thoughts of late. I will not let fear present itself as my constant companion. I prefer the peace of Jesus. I must fight this battle for my mind on my knees and with a determined effort to seek the Lord where He is found.
It pains my heart deeply that the faithful are barred from the Holy Mass at this time, unable to draw comfort from Our Eucharistic Lord. And yet, Jesus has not abandoned us. We must seek Him; as He has promised in His Word, the Holy Scriptures, that He will never leave us. Rather, He commands us, “I charge you: Be strong and courageous; do not be terrified, do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.
When I get up in the early morning and anxious thoughts start to assail me, I pray to the Lord and ask for His presence and His strength. When I am in the kitchen doing ordinary things and my heart starts to race at the sight of updates on my phone of our current reality, I start to sing.
Like the lyrics of a contemporary Christian song say, “I will raise a Hallelujah louder than my unbelief.” (“Raise a Hallelujah” song by Bethel Music)
I have hidden songs in my heart, those that speak of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness. There are favorites sung in music ministry as a youth, children’s Bible songs taught to my own children in their younger years, complete with motions, hymns from mass and contemporary songs of praise and worship from Christian radio.
“The Lord inhabits the Praises of His people.” Psalm 22:3 And where the Lord is, the enemy cannot be. That old serpent MUST flee.
The Lord has bestowed wonderful charisms of His Holy Spirit to many on Christian radio, and their creative, musical genius amplifies the Truth of His Character. Song and prayer are but two of the weapons we have at our disposal to battle fear and anxiety, regarding this global pandemic or any given situation. As Catholics, we have the entire Treasury of the Church from which to draw.
Both Saints of old and those that normally occupy the same pews on weekends are part of the Communion of Saints. When we draw close together in prayer: both uniting ourselves with those intercessors and praying on behalf of others, we no longer stand alone. We fight fear together.
“Where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in their midst.” Matthew 18:20.
The timeless truth proclaims that we do not have to be in the same location. Social distancing guidelines can never keep us from the Father’s Presence. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord…” Romans 8:37-39.
We can call, text, or Facetime our neighbors and loved ones to pray together. We can call upon the angels and the saints and the whole Host of Heaven to pray with us. The Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant- our voices can be raised in unison as The Body of Christ with Christ Jesus as Our Sacred Head.
We have the beauty and physical reminders of sacramentals in our homes: blessed crucifixes, holy water, rosaries, blessed candles, holy medals, blessed salt, holy scapulars. These reminders and our Bibles can serve to draw our focus back to Christ. We must gaze at the One who will never leave us or forsake us.
Technology allows us to celebrate online mass in spiritual communion with faithful priests and bishops across our land and all over the world. With recitation of a prayer of spiritual communion, we become united with the one mass though our local masses have been canceled.
Father Christopher Plant, a priest at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Katy, Texas offered wisdom during his homily March 26. By offering mass as a livestream, my children and I received encouragement from the same sanctuary where my godson and niece were baptized. I offer a brief summary of the most challenging remarks. (The full service can be found here.)
“Jesus continually sits at the Father’s right-hand interceding for us. Within the Holy Trinity exists a dialogue of intercession.
Some of God’s mercy can only be extended through intercession. Remember that mass is an intercession for the salvation of the world.
There is a beautiful image of the Virgin Mary with the Miraculous Medal; she is extending her arms over the whole world, with rays of light flowing out. Some have asked about the dispensed rays of light that never seem to touch the earth. The Blessed Virgin answered that those rays are the graces never given, those the world never asks for.
As we pray, to intercede for mankind, we need to ask that the Lord make us willing to be instruments of intercession, as the Lord diverts His wrath to mercy.
Pray that the order of the Catholic Church be restored. Pray that when the doors open, we will return with thanksgiving and joy in our hearts. Pray that our communities will increase and share the joy and hope of the Lord. Pray that those who have been home will be thankful for online mass but will return to the physical mass and the local church community, supporting it and sharing in the gifts and service of the Holy Spirit.”
We are called to intercede, to pray as hard as we ever have. Our Pope has offered a plenary indulgence of the Church for uniting in prayer on behalf of those suffering from COVID-19 throughout the world as well as those laboring to care for the sick. This was offered by Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
We must pray for those afflicted by this illness across the globe as well as those suffering in fear and isolation.
We are called to be salt and light, blessed salt for others and light in a dark and weary world. We cannot be either of these effectively if we, ourselves, are stuck in a place of fear, too afraid to lend a hand to our neighbor or love one another. We must not allow the terror of the night to temporarily cloud our vision.
“O you who dwell in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the protection of Shaddai- I say to the Lord, my refuge and stronghold, my God in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
Our Lady’s most powerful weapon, the Most Holy Rosary, can be prayed as a family. We light a candle and battle the darkness, one beaded prayer at a time. Find your favorite devotion and share it with your family and friends. Now is the time for iron to sharpen iron. Proverbs 27:17
No, actually, trust Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
Copyright 2020 Bonnie Shaw