Kia tau te Rangimarie ki a koutou,
Every year on Ash Wednesday we hear Jesus saying in the Gospel; “when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6.) If you are like me, you may also be saying everyday “I will pray more; I will spend more time alone with God.” We might even go so far as to say “Yes, I will be like Jesus who ‘would always go off to some place where he could be alone and pray.’” (Luke 5:16)
It has been said many times over the last few weeks that our Lockdown time in recent weeks has been a time for greater prayer and reflection, an opportunity to make a retreat, a chance to be more reflective, a chance simply to stop, to ponder and wonder.
During these weeks there have been many conversations and people writing about online Masses and whether they might be a thing of the future. There have been many petitioning the Bishops saying that we should have spoken up to the civil authorities and supported the rights of people to go to Church and do what they want, but not a lot of thought from them about keeping others safe. Much of the material I received was about those who wanted to “hear Mass,” “get Communion” or “wanting to pray before the Tabernacle.”
What has been missing from a lot of the material, thoughts and writings of many has been an ongoing analysis of what has been happening. The more important question to me is “Am I growing in my relationship with God? are we growing in our relationship with God?”
It might be that we have focused too much on the practical things, the mechanics of survival, how will we contact trace, how will we monitor the numbers, how do we sanitise? I do hope all this time in Levels 2, 3 and 4 hasn’t been wasted, but has been an opportunity, and is still is an opportunity for each of us to ask, “Am I growing in my relationship with God?”
With every blessing
From the Pastoral Letter of Bishop Derio Olivero, Bishop of Pinerolo, Italy: welcoming his parishioners back to Mass, he reminded them that they should not be “communities that are closed in on themselves and their own organisation, but communities that are open, humble, full of hope; communities infectious with passion and trust. Not a Church that goes to church, but a Church that goes to everyone. Full of enthusiasm, passion, hope, love. Believers like this will regain their desire to go to church. To go to Mass, to be fed”.