In The Shadow Of The Almighty

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‘ 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.

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