COVID-19 is the universal topic of conversation in every part of the world. While throughout every year the realities of vulnerability and fear leave many people feeling alone and isolated, in these Coronavirus days there is a strong sense of shared uncertainty and fear.
I had a video meeting yesterday with several friends in Italy, each in isolation in their own homes. Their reflections were centred on the presence and action of Jesus in the midst of this crisis. Some were couples, some single, some with children with one couple holding a toddler and their new-born baby.
It was clear to me that they were seeking contact with those who would help to open their natural anxiety and fear with the hope-filled perspective that Jesus Christ brings.
And today in Italy, one of the countries most affected by the virus, is Father’s Day because it is the feast of Joseph, the father of Jesus.
I took the picture above a few years ago at Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The carving is of St. Joseph with a young Jesus. It is a rare and powerful portrayal of a delightful moment in this father-son relationship.
I am thinking especially today of the many men who are loving fathers, including those who like Joseph are father to children who are not their own biological offspring. Today, more men than ever are in this situation. There are many reasons for this reality. But how these men found themselves as foster fathers is not as important as the fact that they are now called by God to love, as fathers, their foster children.
Some of these men are providing fatherly love to children who in earlier years were denied this love, or who tragically were mis-treated and unloved by their biological fathers.
Many foster-fathers are replacing lost fathers, or sharing the role of fatherhood for perhaps a few hours or days each week.
Whatever your situation as a father, today Food For Faith readers pray for you.
- Take a few moments today to remember your own father, living or dead, with all his gifts and imperfections. Remember the times he was there for you, and the times when his imperfections and compulsions led him to put his own projects before your need for love. Now thank God that he worked through your father, the “good enough father” (ref this link) to form you.
- Let’s also today remember and pray for all parents and all people who are struggling with anxiety caused by the Coronavirus.
Prayer for a Pandemic
by Cameron Wiggins Bellm
May we who are merely inconvenienced,
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May those who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose
between preserving their health or making their rent.
May those who have the flexibility
to care for our children when schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel trips
remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May those who settle for quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love during this time
when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us find ways to be the loving embrace to God and our neighbour.