THE SERVANT GENERAL
PERSPECTIVE ON COVID-19
will be …. plagues”
of peace to all my brothers and sisters in Christ!
am not a medical practitioner, but I am a mission practitioner.
We are people in the world, but we are set apart. We think
not with the wisdom of men but with the wisdom of God. We
have supernatural faith and believe in miracles. Permit me
to give you my perspective on COVID-19.
WHO has just declared COVID-19 a pandemic. It is in 126 countries
and territories throughout the world, and continues to spread
(even as I am writing). There have been 4,638 deaths with
126,609 reported infections, giving a mortality of 3.7%. There
probably are more unreported or unrecognized infections, and
the “good news” of this is that, if so, the mortality
rate should be lower.
us put COVID-19 into proper perspective. It may not be as
bad as influenza, which is likewise an infectious respiratory
illness and is transmitted in similar ways. According to the
WHO, the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people each year, with
5 million cases of severe illness and 1 billion infections.
This is not to downplay the threat of COVID-19. Further, there
is a vaccine for flu but not yet for COVID-19. The mortality
rate for influenza is less than 0.1%, for COVID-19 3.7% (hopefully
much lower if all infections are accounted for), for SARS
9.5% and for MERS 34.4%.
with all deadly diseases, we must be prudent and take necessary
precautions. But we also should not panic, to the extent that
the cure becomes worse than the disease. What would be the
economic and social effect if more and more of the world goes
into lockdown? Would the resulting dislocation, disorder,
conflicts and chaos inflict greater harm on people, especially
am distressed at some of the ways our Church has responded
to COVID-19. Such as closing churches, cancelling Masses,
forgoing spiritual events including Lenten retreats and pilgrimages,
even closing the healing baths at Lourdes. In some circumstances
these moves might be justified, but in most cases, now is
not yet the time. We might end up being even more cautious
than governments and secular organizations. While malls and
casinos remain open, churches are closed? Should it be rather
a time to gather even more in spiritual places, especially
know that everything that happens in the world is under the
mighty hand of God. So God has allowed this plague to happen.
Perhaps God caused this plague to happen. The world today
is in such darkness of sin. People have turned away from God.
Many Catholics, belonging to the one true Church established
by Jesus himself, are no longer living out their faith.
we being chastised by God? In the history of salvation, God
had formed a people for Himself. These were the Israelites,
and Christians today are the new Israel. God warned them:
“But if you do not heed me and do not keep all these
commandments, if you reject my statutes and loathe my decrees,
refusing to obey all my commandments and breaking my covenant,
then I, in turn, will do this to you: …. Though you
then huddle together in your cities, I will send pestilence
among you” (Lv 26:14-16a,25b). Christians today have
been rejecting God and disobeying His commandments.
yes, the world should be looking for a vaccine against COVID-19,
we should take all precautions necessary, we can even do lockdowns
as will be helpful. But unless we change and repent for sin,
we can expect God’s chastisement to continue. It is
done out of love for us. The world’s attention has been
caught, but unless we see beyond the physical and mundane,
we will miss the lesson. And the world will continue its downward
spiral to ruin and doom.
should we as Christians, as Catholics, as MFC, respond to
COVID-19? We must recognize that ultimate salvation is in
God alone. So we need to pray. We look to the prayer of Jehoshaphat
in the house of the Lord. “If evil comes upon us, the
sword of judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand
before this house and before you, for your name is in this
house, and we will cry out to you in our affliction, and you
will hear and save!” (2 Chr 20:9). We look to the prayer
of Solomon before the altar of the Lord. “If there is
famine in the land or pestilence; …. whatever plague
or sickness there may be; …. whatever prayer or petition
any may make, any of your people Israel, who know heartfelt
remorse and stretch out their hands toward this house, listen
in heaven, the place of your enthronement; forgive and take
action.” (1 Kgs 8:37a,d,38-39a).
response as MFC
do we respond as holy warriors in MFC?
in prudence, we must take the necessary health precautions.
We wash our hands often, we cover our mouths when we cough
or sneeze, we stay home if we are sick, we limit physical
interactions whenever we are together with others, and so
on. Think not only of your own health but those whom you might
second, we must continue with our regular life and community
activities, unless secular authorities limit such actions.
We continue with our household meetings, our assemblies, our
formation, our work of evangelization, and our missionary
thrusts. All the more, if God has allowed or has inflicted
this plague, we must pray and beg for God’s mercy, and
work for repentance and transformation in Christ, and the
renewal of this fallen world.
we must not panic and contribute to growing hysteria. What
is there to fear, if our lives are in the hands of God? Are
Church people to become even more cautious than the pagans?
Do we not trust in a God who cares for us, who makes all things
work for our good? “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow
will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own
evil.” (Mt 6:34).
God, deliver us from COVID-19.
Let the authorities find a cure for this disease.
But let us see the deeper spiritual implications of this scourge.
Bring your people to repentance.
Renew and revive your Church.
Give us in MFC the boldness to go forth
and continue to do your work.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
St Raphael, pray for us.
St Roch, pray for us.
the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding, be
with you all.
bless and protect you and your loved ones always.
Raphael the Archangel, whose name means “God has healed,”
is the one who caused the physical healing of Tobit and protected
Tobiah and Sarah from the demon Asmodeus.
St Roch or San Rocco (or St Rock in English, Sao Roque in
Portuguese, San Roque in Spanish including in the Philippines)
is especially invoked against the plague.