Fighting the Virus -Ten things you can do if you find yourself locked down at home

Even though Mumbai has not been locked down over the corona virus, I have chosen self-isolation making an exception for the public celebration of the Eucharist (which continues in Mumbai) and for all pastoral needs. We as pastors need to shepherd our flock and that includes the use of prudent measures.

But this is also a great time for the family to get together and for you to spend some ‘me’ time. Look at this time positively. Here are some things that I have been doing and so can you.

  1. Use this time to learn something new. I have always loved to make creative posters; I just did not know how to do that till I was introduced to Canva, a great ap. I have been using this time to work on a talent that I wanted to develop.

  2. Cook up a storm and if you don’t know how to then learn. When I was a seminarian I came across a priest who was terrified of turning on the gas. This led to a ‘hands on seminar’ for the priests and the seminarians. Since that course, culinary skills have gone on line and you can learn to make any thing by just goggling it. I have also been posting some recipes on my blog and Facebook. Recently I made a spicy vegetarian kheema vindaloo using granulated soya.

  3. Isolation means everyone is indoors and that’s a great time for the family to bond. If you have card games or board games pull them out. Find some activity that can get the whole family together.

  4. Clean up your personal spaces. In jest I often think I suffer from OCD; and I mean this as no offence to those who do because it is a huge psychological struggle. The point I am making is that most of us barely have the time to pay great attention to keeping personal spaces like drawers (a luxury for developing nations with limited spaces), cupboards and rooms clean.

  5. This is a great time to clear the dining table of decorative articles and use it for what it is meant to be. If you don’t have a dining table make the floor your picnic spot. Use this time to cook together and eat together. Turn off the TV and let the chatter begin

  6. Catch up on some rest. Your immunity is always built up with rest. Doctors recommend at least seven hours a day. However you will need to fight the temptation to slumber out the rest of the day.

  7. Create for yourself a daily flow chart. This will help you structure your day rather than flutter it away. It will also limit the number of hours you spend like a potato couch in front of the TV.

  8. Pick a book and read and if you don’t have a book then there is a lot of stuff online. The danger is that we often feed our minds with forwards on Facebook and Whatsap. There are many good audio books that you can listen to.

  9. Pick up your Bible and search online for a good commentary to do some personal Bible study. I have many articles on scripture on my blog pottypadre.com. There is no dearth of faith based knowledge on line. Keep a highlighter besides you and mark away your Bible each time you come across something that strikes you.

  10. Pray pray and pray as a family. This is a great way to fight the virus and connect us once again to a life of prayer as a family. This is one element that has been lost in many homes. It may be a bit challenging to get everyone together to pray but do remember, everything that is difficult is not impossible. Get the family together giving them fair warning as to what time the family rosary will be said. This helps you negotiate the ‘urgencies’ that always prop up at prayer time.

Finally, stay safe, stay close to Jesus and do not fear. God loves us and we will face this virus together in prayer and love.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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C0rona or Karuna?

There have been some and I wish to stress the word some, who have been suggesting that the recent pandemic should be used as a clarion call to heard the sheep back to the fold by means of what I can only call a method steeped in fear. When one seeks the devil in dark places one will see him in any shape and form that he could possibly exist but what makes me truly appalled is when we see the retribution of God for our iniquities, in every tragedy that descends upon us.

The Archbishop of Bombay joined several prelates across the world in putting out a pastoral advisory coupled with an earnest call to the faithful to be united in prayer.  In the Diocese of Rome and several Diocese in Italy, public liturgical services have been suspend till the 3rd of April; this under the direction of the civil government. Such a direction should be taken seriously, as the Church has done, and should only be defied when it contradicts the issue of morals.

Which brings us back to the question at hand, is the pandemic God’s doing? And should we call the faithful to repentance in the face of such a pandemic? The prophet Joel called the people to repentance when a locust plague ravaged the land. The reading which is part of the liturgy on Ash Wednesday calls the faithful to sit in sack cloth and ashes. But then again, every liturgy is a call to turn to God and every Eucharist begins with an examination of our failings in the light of a God who always loves.

Repentance is a daily call of the Church and not some seasonal fruit that is offered. While we have seasons like Lent and Advent that heighten this call, the Lord calls us to change our hearts on a daily basis. While God may choose any incident to draw us closer to him with a repentant heart, it’s a very narrow spirituality that chases dark clouds and reads his wrathful hand in tragedies such natural disasters like pandemics, earthquakes and tsunamis.

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