‘ He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence…..You will not fear the terror of the night or the arrow that flies by day or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday……A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…..No evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent’ (Ps 91: 3-10).
The remedy to Covid-19 is prayer and prayer only. I can imagine many of my readers laughing in disbelief. I know it is very difficult for us to believe it. But it is the truth, because Covid is a satanic affliction. ‘Pestilence that stalks in darkness’ is the work of the king of darkness. No vaccine or ventilator invented with human intelligence will suffice to challenge this work of the devil. The only thing that can save us from this satanic affliction is the intervention of Jesus Christ, who came to this world exactly for this purpose. ‘The son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil’ (1 Jn 3:8).
Why do we, as a Church hesitate to use prayer as a weapon? Why do our parishes not seek the help of Archangel Michael to fight against the devil? The role of Mary in crushing the head of the dragon is mentioned in the Bible. Yet, why do we as individuals, forget to consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin and procure the strength needed to fight the evil? What prevents us from beseeching the protection of our God by praying Psalm 91 as often as possible? When did we lose the conviction that holy water is much stronger than sanitizer?
This is not an isolated story of some Christians at some remote locations. Across the globe millions of Christians are facing the same dilemma. In earlier times,during plagues and pestilences, our bishops and priests took the lead in gathering the faithful in prayer. But now, what an ordinary Christian thinks is that vaccine is the only way to prevent Covid. When more and more of our brothers and sisters start believing this falsity in spite of daily reports of vaccinated people getting infected by Covid, it points to the trust we place in human intelligence rather than Divine intervention. But there are others who see this crisis as an opportunity to raise their hands in supplication to the Almighty God to fight for them. Their numbers are not small and their faith makes them a distinct group in this world fast moving away from God.
It was Solomon who was selected to build the first ever temple to worship the true God. We are familiar with the beautiful prayer Solomon said at the time of consecrating the temple at Jerusalem. It is not out of context here to read a portion from Solomon’s lengthy prayer.
‘If there is famine in the land, if there is plague, blight, mildew, locust, or caterpillar; if their enemy besieges them in any of their cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever plea there is from any individual or from all your people Israel, all knowing the afflictions of their own hearts so that they stretch out their hands toward this house; then hear in heaven your dwelling place, forgive, act, and render to all whose hearts you know- according to all their ways, for only you know what is in every human heart- so that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our ancestors'( 1 Kings 8:37-40)
This is the glory of Lord’s temple. The house of the Lord should be a refuge to the people, both believers and non-believers, during times of pestilence. Instead, if we ourselves start preaching that Covid is the response of nature for the wrongs we have done to it, or that this crisis will take us to a totally new world and to enter it we need to eradicate the pandemic for which the only remedy is to vaccinate everybody, then what is the difference between the Church and world?
It is not that there was no call for prayer from the Church. Even in the appeal for an inter- religious prayer during May 2020, one of the focus areas was that inspiration be given to scientists to find a solution to the pandemic! Should we advise God how to help us? A non-chrisitian happening to read this will get the impression that the Church also employs the same remedies the world applies to contain Covid.
But we conveniently forget the fact that those countries that ignored the divine and courted the human could not control the spread of the pandemic. Yet why do we believers too, use the same weapons to fight this evil affliction?
So let us return to prayer and place our trust in the Almighty God. It has been a century and a quarter since Pope Leo XIII gave us the powerful prayer of St Michael, that was specially written for getting the protection of St Michael the Archangel in the battle against the devil. Let us recite this prayer as often as possible. Let us consecrate ourselves, our homes and our dear ones to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin. Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus also should be done every day. These are times when everybody, young and old, laity and clergy, learn by heart Psalm 91 that assures us of God’s protection in every step, day and night.
But the most important thing is to lead a holy life and be in a state of grace at all times. Go to confession at regular intervals, if possible once in a week, and participate in Holy Mass everyday. This will help us to grow in grace.
While writing this article we especially remember our priests who do not hesitate to go the extra mile to be with their flock at all times. Let us praise the Lord for having given us saintly priests who took the lead in gathering their desperate flock and uniting them in prayer during the current crisis. If all our parishes and institutions emulate what they did, we are sure we need not fear any plague or pestilence, be it Covid or something more severe. Because we have with us our God who is faithful in His promises.
The only solution to all our worries is to trust in God. There is a big danger in trusting man more than God to solve our problems. To know what it is, we should read the Catechism of the Church.
‘The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh’ (CCC 675).
We should note that the Church teaches this while discussing the second coming of Jesus Christ and the final trial that the Church has to go through before it, and the Antichrist who will cause the supreme religious deception. Any system or institution offering a solution to the problems of the humankind without a supernatural intervention, will definitely lead us away from God. We need to have the discernment to know that whatever the world offers us will always have an element of deception in it. It does not mean that when we are infected with Coronavirus, we should not take medicine or seek treatment. But we should always keep in our mind that the true solution lies somewhere else; it is placing our trust in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
In the past, the Church never thought the way the world thought. These days too, the Church should not think the way the world thinks. It is apt to remember the words of St Anthony of Egypt. ‘When the Church and the world are one, then those days are at hand’. Anthony was prophesying about the end times. When the Church becomes like a worldly institution, thinking the same way the world thinks and offering the same solutions the world offers, then the Church and the world are one. From seventeen centuries behind, Anthony reminds us that this unique situation is the harbinger of the end days. We need to be careful.
My prayer is that each and every person reading this post be filled with the grace to trust in Jesus Christ, rather than being enticed by the solutions offered by the world. And my request is that they take the lead in gathering the people of God and stretching out their hands to heaven in supplication. Jesus Christ, the answer to every question, is still alive and waiting for our prayers to reach him.
May the merciful God bless us all abundantly.