With the current rapid surge of Covid 19 cases around the world, who among us is not afflicted one way or another through suffering the disease itself, loss of spouses, children, friends, or work, of ability to pay rent or buy food, of human companionship because of isolation, having such infrequent contact with others we feel abandoned, alone, rejected even.
There is no panacea for all of this. While it is both a Gospel and life experience truth that the more we care for others, step outside of ourselves, the more we will know true love, His love, thus be less stressed by all of this, more at peace, it is also true pandemic anxiety, like the virus itself, is invasive so waves of anxiety may still afflict us.
At times we all experience the stress of mask wearing, social distancing, restrictions on gatherings, even in Church, that at times we may feel it has all become too much. The daily global, national, local body counts common during a war and lists of the wounded, these ceaseless news reports on how bad things are, or may become, have made of the news media itself an affliction compounding stress. Avoiding such news reports is a great de-stressor.
It is time for us with trust to, to pray until this too shall pass.
It is also time to pray a “Pandemic” litany for the intercession of our Blessed Mother: Mother, this covid enemy is like satan, unseen yet prowling to see whom it may devour, this is a frightening affliction: protect and comfort us please O Mother.
Mother, millions of our sickened brothers and sisters are isolated in hospitals, their suffering immense, absence of visits from family and loved ones, heart wrenching: Mother, protect and comfort them please.
O Mother, throughout the world doctors, nurses, caregivers, first responders lay down their lives daily to care for the sick under immense stress: Mother protect and comfort them please.
O Mother, countless men and women around the world work to ensure we have police and fire protection, keep the food and other supply chains moving, collect the garbage, keep the streets clean, the lights on, the internet working, supply shelter and food for the homeless, all under the stress of knowing in their jobs they might get infected and bring the virus home, what an immense burden: Mother protect and comfort them please.
O Mother, numerous are the enslaved women and girls around the world, all the more vulnerable in this pandemic, numerous are our brothers and sisters, the elderly, men, women, children, languishing in refugee and migrants camps as if dwelling in petri dishes of disease, hopelessness, violence, loss of their dignity as persons: Mother protect and comfort them please.
O Mother, mothers and fathers, married or single, bear the daily challenge and worry about the health of their children, how to feed, cloth shelter them as purveyors of housing, food, etc., continue to increase their prices and then there is the stress of sending their children to crowded schools or educating them at home where predators are prowling the internet: Mother protect and comfort all parents and children please.
O Mother, in the darkness of this pandemic so many of our brothers and sisters have aggravated mental illness, addictions, suffer domestic and other forms of violence, are seen as other, rather than as one like ourselves: Mother protect and comfort each one please.
O Mother, governments, and health officials, making some decisions for the health and welfare of the people, also are making decisions draconian in nature, causing anger and divisions, which in some cases explode in various forms of violence and people taking risks with their health and at a time when closeness with Christ and grace in the liturgy is needed, governments have closed places of worship of all religions or restricted the numbers who may attend, please convert our government and health leaders to a more realistic and compassionate approach to the people: Mother comfort and protect us please.
O Mother, for Catholics and Orthodox in particular these stringent laws force many to be denied access to Holy Communion, a form of spiritual starvation; likewise, our brothers and sisters of other religions, their suffering too is acute: Mother open the places of worship please and comfort and protect us.
O Mother, numerous are our brothers and sisters in this pandemic suffering anxiety, depression, loss of faith, or never had belief in God who is Love, some even feel abandoned by Him, intercede for the gifts of faith, peace, healing for all who suffer emotionally and spiritually: Mother protect and comfort us please.
O Mother, crush anew the head of satan and crush his minion this virus: Mother protect and comfort us please.
We are not orphans: we have a mother in heaven, who is the Holy Mother of God. Because she teaches us the virtue of waiting, even when everything seems meaningless: she always trusts in the mystery of God, even when He seems overshadowed by the world’s evil. In times of difficulty may Mary, the Mother whom Jesus has presented as a gift to all of us, always make our steps sure, may she always say to our hearts: “Get up! Look ahead, look to the horizon,” because she is the Mother of hope. 
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to you do I come; before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
 AVE MARIA, The Mystery of a Most Beloved Prayer; Pope Francis; p.118; 2019 Penguin Random House LLC [italics are mine]
© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph
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