Faith Alive During A Pandemic

Posted By: April 14, 2020

Dear Friends,

We have received a number of requests for prayers and assurance regarding COVID-19.
My big brother Fr. Jim has just written a timely article on trusting God during this pandemic.
I share it with you as you may find it very helpful. God bless and stay safe.
Fr. Sean Mc Manus


Fr. Jim McManus  C.Ss.R. Perth. Scotland

When a pandemic like the Coronavirus [COVID-19] strikes the worldwide human family, nations have to mobilize all their resources to defend life and fight the disease. The UK government has been taking extraordinary, financial steps to do that. The NHS is now receiving the financial support it needs and three-quarters of a million volunteers signed up to help in any way they can.

Pandemics are times of great worry for many. Yet the very specific thing Jesus asks us to do is not to worry, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life”( Matthew 6: 25). As Christians, we can substitute Christ’s gift of faith for worries. That is why Jesus can say to us, “Let your light shine before others so that they will see your good works and the give the glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16.)

Living faith

Jesus compares faith to light. Switch on a light at night and the darkness in the house vanishes. Let the light of your faith shine on the spiritual darkness, that always seeks to take advantage of the times of national crises, and the darkness gives way to hope. About our hope, St. Paul assures us, “Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5: 5).

Our faith is not the fruit of our own intelligence. It is God’s gift to us, given so that we can share it with others as the opportunity arises. In times of pandemics and worries, in times of joy or sorrow, the light of faith fills our hearts with a sense of purpose in life and gratitude to God for the gift of life.

Faith is a free gift of God, but how faith develops in our hearts, in our vision and understanding of our life and our relationship with God and neighbor depends on how we welcome it and joyfully enter into God’s presence to thank him for the gift. Faith opens the door to God’s presence—prayer brings us into God’s presence.

We have three resources for keeping our faith fully alive: the Holy Spirit, the word of God and our personal time of prayer.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit animates and revitalizes our faith,  revealing our deepest identity to us—we are God’s children. St Paul writes: “And because we are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba”! Father” (Galatians 4:6). The Holy Spirit enlightens our hearts with the light of faith so that we can recognize and acknowledge who our God is—He is our loving Father and we can place all our trust in him.

Whenever we experience any discouragement in our life, any sense of a lessening of our trust in God, any worries or anxieties, we have the remedy in a simple invocation of the Holy Spirit. We can say that traditional prayer: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love.”


Our faith comes alive through hearing the word of God

When we reflect on how we keep our faith fully alive, we have to go back to its source, to the word of God. St. Paul tells us that “Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).  There has been a real spiritual revolution in the way Catholics are celebrating the fact that they are “people of the word of God,” people who imbibe the word Jesus speaks when he says to us: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mathew 4: 4). There is a growing hunger for the word of God and new opportunities in some parishes for parishioners to come together to learn more about the place that God’s word has in all our worship, prayers, evangelization and passing on our faith within our families.

Placing all in God’s hands

Through the gift of faith, God invites us to entrust ourselves, our families and everything that threatens the life and welfare of all our citizens, such as COVID-19, to the merciful love of God. We can cross over the threshold of prayer, into God’s divine presence, and share all our concerns, with our heavenly Father, who created us—with Jesus Christ the Son of God and Son Mary, who redeemed us—with the Holy Spirit who is, as we say in the creed at Mass “the Lord, the giver of life.”  The more we come into God’s presence to thank Him for His gifts, the stronger our faith will become and the more joy we will find in our prayerful dialogue with God.

Sharing all  our experiences with God

The word of God encourages us to share every aspect of our lives with God. St. Peter says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 4:6-7). We can discuss with God, as we ponder His word, everything that is going on in our lives at this time —all our concerns about the coronavirus as we remember the words that the archangel Gabriel spoke to Our Blessed Lady: “for nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1: 37).

Jesus wants your faith to glow. He expects us to make use of all the spiritual gifts He has given us to make sure that our faith will grow, deepen and saturate our whole being and all our relationships. Our faith shines a glowing light on our whole existence and on all the circumstances in which we find ourselves. As St. Paul says, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5: 7). We can become women and men who live by faith in the goodness and love of God for each of us, even though we may be living through all kinds of difficulties such as sickness, broken relationships, pandemics, and economic hardships in the present. The gift of prayer enables our faith to come alive so that each day we can come to God with great confidence. We dialogue with God about all the circumstances of our lives.

Our prayer time with God   

When we cross the threshold of prayer we enter into God’s presence. We are now on holy ground in the presence of the all-holy God. We acknowledge that we have been invited into God’s presence and we respond in words like, “Lord I believe that I am now in your holy presence and I adore you with my whole being. Thank you for inviting me to come to you.”

We remind ourselves of those awe-inspiring words of the Apostle St. John: “By this, we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us his Spirit. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God”(1John 4:13-15). We fruitfully ponder those words in our hearts. To apply them to yourself you can say, “ I believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God and so I believe that God abides in me and I in God’. That is your deepest mystery: God has made home in your heart.

God dwells in our hearts

The threshold of prayer that we have crossed is not in some holy place outside ourselves but within our own hearts. God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. When Moses approached the Burning Bush he was told, “take off your sandals because the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). We are on holy ground when we enter the presence of God. We enter with reverence and gratitude. When you turn to God in prayer, your home becomes your private oratory. Jesus says to us, “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” ( Mathew 6: 6). It is within your inner self, your heart, that you have your dialogue with God your heavenly Father.

Praying in your own home sanctifies everyone and everything in your home. Your home becomes your holy place for your daily meetings with God. It becomes your oratory. Invite all the angels and saints to join you in your time of prayer. And don’t forget to ask all the deceased members of your family who are now with God to pray with you as you pray for them. When we are at prayer, whether we are in the church or in our home, we are always “in the communion of saints.” That is why Jesus can say to us, “do not worry.”