Open churches… Hearts open to the Lord…

The situation regarding Covid-19 is changing all the time as you are well aware. Up until this point we have been keeping churches open for personal prayer, and nothing yet has been said to us to the contrary in our diocese. I did hear this morning, however, that the Bishop of Motherwell has now decided that all of his churches should be closed with effect from today, and without anticipating the decisions of legitimate authority this may come to pass in our own diocese too. What does this mean?

Well, for us, as Catholics, not being able to access Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament either to receive Him in Holy Communion, or to pray in His presence, is a very painful and difficult thing. Is the Lord distant from us, then? Certainly not! In fact we can be sure that when suffering is experienced by His people the Lord is closer than ever before. We are presented with great challenges and great uncertainty, but the good God is at our side, and many of us, I know have already experienced this truth in the past short while as our lives have already begun to take on a different shape in these circumstances.

He has already inspired in many of the faithful the desire to come together “virtually” by the means of social media in order to pray – and this is incredibly important. We need the mutual support of prayer, to know that we are united together and united with the Lord. We also find great union with Our Blessed Lady and the Saints at this time, we have a real sense of the communion of saints, we know that we are surrounded by our heavenly brothers and sisters who are encouraging us, urging us on, throughout our time of testing.

Now that many of us have smart phones with facetime, or whatsapp, or messenger, or such things, then we should try to get together to pray, perhaps to read Scripture, prayer the Rosary together, engage in prayer of intercession for the healing of souls and bodies. There is much we can do to support each other in prayer and in friendship, much we can do to draw closer to the Lord in faith and to draw closer to each other in Christian charity.

Remember that even if our churches do have to close, even for private prayer, that Jesus is still very much at the heart of our local community. He is living here in the tabernacle in our Catholic Church, every day His saving sacrifice is re-presented to the Heavenly Father for the forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of the world in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and from this reality His graces and mercies pour out to the wider world. He is alive, and He is in our midst, and we share in the truth of His presence with us when we pray, and when we pray together, especially, even if it is only “virtually”.

When you come together to pray, place yourselves in spirit before Jesus in the tabernacle in our church, kneel before Him in spirit, greet Him, tell Him of your love, tell Him that you believe He is truly with you, and then join “virtually” with your brothers and sisters in honouring, praising, and worshipping Him… and think of the time to come, when having built up such an intense hunger and desire for Him, you will be able to receive Him once more at Holy Mass in the Sacred Host.

God bless you, and let us continue to pray for each other,

Fr. Martin


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