March 10, 2020 – In times like these we need a religious leader to step up, to speak to and for the American people, to speak the truth. It doesn’t appear to be the pope or any American bishop or Franklin Graham.
Here is small bit and essence of what the Pope said recently:
I am close in prayer to the persons that are suffering from the current epidemic of coronavirus, … I join my brother bishops in encouraging the faithful to live this difficult moment with the power of faith, the certainty of hope and the fervor of charity.
Billy Graham, Franklin’s father was a religious man said to be such. To Franklin’s defense, the coronavirus stole the headlines away from the Tennessee tornado assistance where his Samarian’s Purse charity assisted.
But ever since the sixties, religious indifference and agnosticism have been spreading, and in the process overshadowing religious importance. We’ve experienced periods of needless wars, the skepticism of government, and religion’s failure to constrain systemic abuse in government or corruption of the clerics in religious ministries. All contributed to the mistrust of these large organizations.
Nevertheless, the pope’s statement is lacking in comfort and wisdom. The pope is still critical of countries that restrict immigration, which works to constrain the spread of sickness and disease, especially in America. It lacks warmth, when the pope repeats the same phrase many times since last August when he speaks of prayer and “closeness” to comfort afflictions, disease and war.
What does it say when I tell you “I am close to you?”
In our recent time as well as biblical times, kings and clerics have called for days of fasting and prayer for national emergencies. Must we wait for this situation to get worse to expedite our petitions to the Almight? Until then we might pray this prayer, the best one I have seen, from Kerry Weber of America Magazine:
Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages ‘curing every disease and illness.
At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Jesus Christ, heal us.