Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
In the reading from the Acts of the Apostles at Mass today, we heard how the Apostles joined in continuous prayer, along with several women, including Mary the Mother of Jesus, and his brothers. This happened through the days from the Lord’s Ascension until the Coming of the Holy Spirit upon them on Pentecost Sunday. These are the days we are in now in the Church’s Liturgical Year so I would encourage the clergy and faithful of the Diocese as individuals and as families to pray for the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to assist our recovery in our present situation and the strength and courage to face the future with renewed hope.
Considering the “catastrophic” loss of life in this country, especially of the frail and elderly, our prayer should be humble, perhaps even penitential, seeking wisdom for our governments to discern what needs to be done to protect our health and the well-being of everybody. As Church we can look forward now to our churches reopening when the government relaxes that particular restriction. I suggest that we do this in a quiet and humble manner, thankful that it is safe to reopen but respectful of the suffering so many have endured and the on-going distress the virus is causing. It has been a time of patient waiting, and that will continue for some time yet, but spiritually such times are often fruitful, with renewed appreciation and gratitude for what has been lacking. The Collect at Mass today spoke of the promise of the Lord’s abiding presence among us to endow the world, so we should never feel abandoned but rather open to receiving the Lord’s goodness in all circumstances and places.
Through our prayer this week we ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with the fire of God’s love and, through our sharing in the Lord’s new creation, to renew the face of the earth.
With my prayer and best wishes to you all as we prepare for Pentecost 2020.
Yours in Christ
+ Joseph Toal