With the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly spreading around the world, many people are worried and anxious. How should they react in the face of growing restrictions on their movement and activities and the uncertainties created when around them many are becoming sick and some are dying? In this meditation we use texts of St Augustine, St John Paul II, St Josemaria and Pope Francis to consider four approaches which should always characterise us when we encounter suffering:
Faith and trust in God, who has not abandoned us and knows what we are going through
We all have situations in which we wish something were different but we are not in a position to change it by ourselves: our job, finances, health, relationships, etc. In these circumstances we can sometimes become discouraged. It is then that we need to grow in hope, to trust more in God. In this meditation we pray about this important virtue, drawing on Scripture, the Catechism, Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spe Salvi and St Josemaria’s book The Way to consider:
The nature of hope
How God is always with us and will give us what is best
How we should know that God is close to us especially when we are suffering
In the afternoon of the Resurrection, two discouraged disciples of Jesus left Jerusalem for the nearby town of Emmaus. Christ met them on the way and engaged them in conversation, showing them from the Scriptures how the Messiah was meant to suffer and die. When they reached Emmaus the discipes begged Jesus to stay with them and when they recognised him in the breaking of the bread they returned to Jerusalem. In this meditation we consider how:
Christ is always there for us when we are going through hard times.
We should beg Jesus to stay with us and we should keep him close always, especially when we are experiencing difficulties.
Like the disciples did with Jesus, we should open our hearts to the one who guides us in our spiritual life
Our hearts, like those of the disciples, will burn within us when we encounter our Lord in prayer, the Scriptures and the sacraments.
Our Lord sends us out, as he did the apostles, to announce to others the good news of his love for mankind.
In the ups and downs of life there are many events which are not in our control, where we can only put our hope in God. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture and Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Saved by hope to put our life on a sure foundation. We consider that:
The foundation of our hope is God, who is always with us.
Our hope in God enables us to find peace and joy even amidst the uncertainties and sufferings of life.
The ultimate object of our hope is eternal life with God in heaven.
We can grow in hope through prayer in its various forms.
Mary, our Mother, is our hope: she brings us hope in the person of Jesus, she lives hope herself in many moments, and she intercedes powerfully for us in heaven.
Many people look on death with dread, as the sad ending of it all. With Christian faith we look on it very differently, as our final journey home to eternal life with God. Our Lord has told us that he has gone ahead to prepare a room for us in the Father’s house (cf. John 14: 2-3). This is what awaits us if we live and die well. In this meditation we consider:
The Christian meaning of life and death
The many passages of the Bible that speak to us of our preparation for eternal life with God
The need to be prepared at every moment to meet Our Lord
The importance of storing up treasure in heaven, not on earth