Priest's Perspective

29 June 2021 – Alert level 4

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

Father I pray that they be one! (Jesus)

Yesterday while we were praying for our communities, I was nearly overwhelmed with sadness as we prayed about the current lockdown. Having to return to our homes and spend two weeks there should not be a punishment, a terrible thought! And I was sent the Popes message for the day that encouraged us to use the time to transform our homes!

The thought of spending time at home with family should be seen as a wonderful opportunity. “Perhaps it is time to transform your house into a wonderful place to stay, a place of peace and not of war, of embrace and not of distance.  Anyway, look with different eyes at the situation you are experiencing !!” (Pope Francis).

During the first lockdown in March 2020, my family was all together, and we will always treasure that time. My daughter is now married and has moved away and my son is working in America, and that time that we had together is a precious memory, and we are grateful to God for it. We saw more of my overseas family (albeit via zoom) than we had in a while, we used the opportunity to connect.

Our lives have become overbearingly busy. Our minds are constantly engaged in the hustle and bustle of life. These next 14 days are an opportunity to reorder our lives, reconnect as families, change our routines. My biggest fear during the Alert level 5 was that we would come out of the experience unchanged, and sadly my fear has been realised in so many ways. Too many people are still thinking selfishly and are more interested in their own rights than in the lives of others. Again as Pope Francis said “ I do not consider this as ISOLATION/Lockdown having to stay at home with whom we love.  Isolation is what the seriously ill are experiencing in hospital.  Stop saying that you are bored, upset that you can’t leave the house; while everyone in the hospital wants to go home.  So, thank God if you have to stay at home, because despite everything, with money or without money, with a job or without a job, you are in the best place you could be, at home, surrounded by (those) who love you!”(end quote)

What about those who are all alone you ask? Well, it strikes me that many of the people that we as Christians look up to, spent time in solitude as the best way to get closer to God. We too have the opportunity to be intentional about this and spend extra time in prayer and scripture reading and in reordering our affections, our thoughts and our practices.

Being physically distanced has taught me how spiritually connected we are. It has taught me that prayer is something that we need to take much more seriously and that only the “well” of Christ can sustain us.

Last week (in our weekly prayer meeting) we were praying about the life of the Church, and we felt strongly urged by the Spirit to take the church to the people. This week we will not be meeting in a corporate act of worship, but I encourage every one of you to make you home a place of worship – to live in the Spirit of the Eucharist (Thanksgiving), to pray ‘liturgically’ (give yourself to kingdom building) and have communion with God and each other, in every meal.

May this time be for us a revival of faith a revival of trust!

I end by reminding us that the 10 plagues of Egypt were a preparation for Israel’s release from bondage. Every hardship we bear is an opportunity to rely more on God and less on ourselves. God does not bring hardship upon us; he endures it with us.  In the death and resurrection of Jesus, (the firstborn) a new order was established. An order of freedom to worship God and to live under His Lordship. Set out with God on a new journey today, and seek God in all you do. Consecrate yourselves, give yourselves to prayer and worship make your home a Holy place. “make your house, your family, a place of love.”  Make the best possible use of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity….(Pope Francis).

be assured of my prayers.

Fr Andrew.

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