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Prayer in Time of Pandemic

Prayer in Time of Pandemic
By Fr. Kevin Rettig

O, God of Love, you care for us.
   Through difficult times you walk with us,
   through impossible times you carry us.
In this new time of struggle and pain,
   open our eyes to the love around us,
   to the kindness of friend and stranger alike,
   to the daily gifts you surprise us with.
Open our hearts to the world inside,
   the world around,
   the world above;
   make of us a mirror of your love.
Let every tear we see, every cry we hear
   be a personal call to reach beyond ourselves,
   to feel the pain in the heart of the other,
   to disregard all distances and differences
   and recognize only the sister, the brother in need.
In the sick and the dying, the lonely, the grieving,
   the depressed and the desperate, the fearful, the hurting,
   those suddenly not working
   and those suddenly working too much,
   may we see our own face, and in it find yours.
Show your presence through our presence;
   smile with our lips, 
   love with our hearts;
   reach out your helping hand by inspiring us to open ours.
Give strength to those who strengthen others,
   courage to those who calm the fearful,
   comfort to those whose gentle spirit
   consoles the inconsolable while breaking under the weight of unshed tears.
Bestow wisdom on those who seek to protect from harm,
   and on those laboring tirelessly to find a cure.
Enlighten those who choose to deny
   the reality of the danger
   or the reality of your love,
   those who put their own perceived loss of "rights" or "freedoms"
   ahead of the rights of others to live,
   those who cannot see beyond the inconvenience of a mask
   because they cannot see beyond themselves.
May carelessness give way to caring,
   self-centeredness to self-sacrifice,
   darkness to the light that only you can give.
Move our hearts to absorb the lessons, the wakeup call
   wrapped in the package of pandemic:
   absent the distractions we thought so vital,
   help us rediscover the essentials we had long forgotten;
   absent the buildings of brick and stone, help us build temples of spirit and persons;
   absent the great manmade indoors, show us the greater God-made outdoors;
   absent the parties, let us rediscover the connections;
   absent the noise, let us finally hear your voice;
   absent the crowds, let us discover ourselves.
And when we emerge from this plague, as emerge we shall,
   may we not hurry back to what we have moved beyond,
   nor forget the connection, the vision, the recovery of the forgotten,
   the gift of growth you have hidden in the pain;
But may we look at the world and look at ourselves 
   in the new light you have given,
   feel the renewed bond with each sister and brother,
   and know intensely the Love that is you!