OCP News Service – Fr. Alexander Kurien – 25/3/2020
The Sweet Smoke of Prayer: Psalm 141 – “Let my prayer arise in Your sight as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” Let us sing, “Our God is greater, our God is stronger, Into the darkness, you shine, out of the ashes we rise.” Let us get on our knees praying for one another, the first responders, and all levels of healthcare employees. The icon is of St. Luke and Holy Virgin Mary blessing a doctor attending to the sick. “Our ONLY hope remains in the Lord! God, please SAVE YOUR people”
The current state of the crisis we face is forcing us to really ask some deeper spiritual questions. What is the church? What is a community? Some leaders still don’t get the gravity of the crisis on hand! Even with 35 priests dead from the infection and 83 priests in critical condition across the globe, a handful still believes that administering the Holy Services with just 10 faithful is safe! Imagine the domino effect of the spread of the virus just from these 10 attending X millions of churches, mosques, and temples across the globe? Our religions and faith should NOT be the cause of thousands more of God’s children dying!
We must become disciplined (a Christian virtue) enough for a complete Transformation: 1) listen to the authorities for social distancing; 2) please pray in our own homes with candles and TRY (if possible) to burn the sacrifices of incense twice a day (be sensitive to respiratory issues at home); and, 3) make our hearts and homes a living Church, a Sanctuary. It is my humble opinion that many individuals and homes these days lack daily prayers. God is NOW forcing us to change our lives and make our homes Holy and a Living Sanctuary where prayer becomes a common practice all hours of the day – live, whisper, and breathe prayers – a complete Transformation!
The global pace of infection is fast approaching 500,000 confirmed cases. U.S. cases jumped from 800 just in 10 days to 55,000 confirmed as of today with 700 deaths. Took just three days for the number of confirmed global cases to go from 300,000 to 450,000. The true scale of the outbreak may actually be wider – the United States and India are way behind in actual testing. I believe the actual counts are 10 to 15 times than the official counts. US could become the new center of the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the WHO. We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US, India, and Africa. Proud of Hon. PM Narendra Modi of India for ordering a 21-day lockdown of the whole country, the world’s second-most populous (1.3 trillion), after researchers warned more than 1 million people could be infected by May.
I haven’t been wrong yet. The only option is “social distancing”, to remain away from each other. There is no way out to escape from coronavirus besides this. The death numbers in Italy yesterday have again risen by 743 to 6,820 – just a 24-hour count. Like me, the Italian authorities also believe that the real number of infections was probably 10 times higher than the official count.
Fr Alexander is serving as the Deputy Associate Administrator and Executive Director of the Federal Real Property Council of the US government. He was recently appointed an expert in Human Trafficking Task Force under the Trump administration.
OCP News Service