Mass will be available to see and hear today from Our Lady's Island at 11 o'clock. Just click on the link below.
All the water in the ocean will not sink our boat Except what we all allow on board.
I warmly welcome all of you who are joining me in spirit this morning for our Sunday Mass. When we installed the webcam system not so long ago little did we realize how important it would be at this time. Ryan Tubridy while presenting the Late Late on Friday night spoke of the eeriness of doing a show with no studio audience. Priests can readily identify with that feeling this morning looking down at empty churches as we come to terms with this unprecedented situation.
This is a time when having faith is so important and the opposite of faith is fear.
Lord, for our innate tendency to let faith go out the window and allow fear and anxiety to come in and control us. We ask forgiveness.
For our failure to be socially conscious and thinking only of how we can be okay without ensuring that those within our reach are looked after and cared for. We ask forgiveness.
For the lack of reflection is our lives where we allow experiences to pass us by but fail to grow in wisdom. We ask forgiveness.
While there is only one concern and topic of conversation on peoples hearts and minds there is no point in talking about anything else apart from public enemy No 1, the Corona Virus. With the world going into virtual lockdown it’s as if everyone is forced to stop being so busy, to be with themselves and engage in a bit of serious reflection as to what this might be saying to us. A thought with me is that as a people we were unconsciously moving more and more into social isolation and what this is doing is making us more conscious of this and forcing us to ask if it is healthy and is it the direction we really want o be going. This virus is with us for a reason, it will last for a season and hopefully if we can learn the reason, we can outlast the season.
Just when we thought we were flying high and the economy was booming we have literally become grounded overnight. There is no place we can fly off to; all our usual escape routes are closed. At the point when we had finally slipped into top gear and were going full speed we have been brought to a grinding halt. When we thought we had it all together and thought we were more in charge than ever we see we are much weaker and more vulnerable than we ever thought. Suddenly life is not all about making money and having more material things. At a time when levels of isolation were at an all time high we now have to take care of each other and return to old style community values. There may even be a dawning realization that all of human life merely hangs by a thread of divine pleasure.
Even a week ago just reading between the lines of what the medical experts were saying it was obvious that we were entering into something very serious and with it now being declared a pandemic they are also saying that every community in the world is going to be affected by it.
Like any major challenge in life we can either approach this virus with fear or faith. To be concerned enough to take precautions is a good thing but to allow fear and panic to take hold is quite another. To fear sickness is to be sick and there is a real danger of fear taking hold of a population that have forgotten the value of faith how to use it in difficult times. What fear does is that it creates worry and anxiety and this in turn creates the best environment for the virus to spread simply by lowering our immune system.
Something well scientifically proved is that some are very susceptible to viruses while many others are virtually immune. People have even taken what were potential fatal viruses and not been affected by them. Why we may well wonder? The answer seems to lie in the quality and good functioning of the immune system.
At present there is a load of great advice as to how to avoid the disease but for some strange reason I don’t hear much being said about how to build up our immune system even though this is the body’s natural defense system.
All medical research suggests that stress is a real killer and lies at the heart of so much disease. There’s nothing as powerful as stress to lower the immune system so might I suggest that if we are prone to stress and worry that we take a look at what it is doing to us. A boat is designed to float on water so its not the water in the ocean that will sink it but what is allowed on board. We all need to watch for and recognize our leaks and what or who it is that gets to us and causes us stress.
A few years ago I was laid low with a dose of vertico for nearly three weeks. Just a month before I had spent time in a house where everyone had the flu. They were literally vomitting and sneezing all over the place and you could almost see the germs in the atmosphere. I came away feeling as if I had been zapped by the virus. The next few days, while I was awaiting the onset of symptoms, I just felt drained of energy but the flu never came. When I asked a medic she said, ‘It sounds as if you got a hit. Your tiredness was a sign that your body’s natural system was working overtime to combat the disease and before the virus took over it won. For that to happen you must be in good shape and fairly stress free.’
I was very calm at the time but not a month later. Certain events going on behind the scenes had got to me and I felt unusually stressed. That was when the vertico hit and looking back I had to acknowledge that I had left myself wide open.
Whatever it takes to strengthen the immune system I believe it will pay dividends. Even if we fall prey to infection it will still be to our advantage and speed up our recovery. That might be taking plenty of Vitamin C but it might also mean seeing worry for what it really is; a prayer for the worst possible result. While it won’t rob today of its problems it will rob tomorrow of the very strength that we need to keep this virus at bay.
We turn to Christ the Good shepherd and we ask that he guide us safely through this dark valley and that we will grow in faith and trust.
We pray that we will learn whatever we need to learn from these times and not lose the experience.
We pray that those forced into social isolation will use the time in a positive way either to simply be or to develop hidden talents that have been neglected.
We remember medical staff who are in the front line in relation to this disease. My they be kept safe be given all the support they need to carry out their duties.
We pray for the wisdom to act responsibly through all this. That we will learn the lesson of how we are responsible to each other and for each other and that literally no person is an island.
That those in leadership who are forced to make hard decisions will make the right decisions that will be for the good of everyone and that they will be guided by the light of the Holy Spirit.