What Covid-19 did for me – confessions of a priest. 

What Covid-19 did for me – confessions of a priest. 

Today has been the fourth day of my quarantine though technically it’s the sixth and while I continue to be well, I am painfully aware of how this pandemic has played out in the lives of so many people. The loss of loved ones to this disease is fresh in so many minds and fear continues to rule our hearts. The Lord says to us “be not afraid.”

I have displayed little or no symptoms. I did the test on a hunch as my hosts at whose wedding I solemnized informed me that several guests had been tested positive. I felt the right thing to do, considering the congregation I interact with, was to get myself tested. There was no fear when I got the results, just a quiet determination to get well and get back to work as soon as I can.

Covid 19 has thus been for me a time of forced rest; a rest from work and rest with God. Organized as I am, I drew up a daily plan (which ironically also included some work). However, I decided to dedicate a large chunk of my morning to scripture study and to writing; the evening was to be a time of prayer. Covid was telling me something; that It should matter to me that I am available to God than accessible to people every time.

Being the person I am, I have this constant compulsion to answer every text, read ever mail, check every message and be on top of every situation as if my decision would avert a nuclear war. Part of this compulsion and anxiety is also triggered of by the digital age that seems to suggest that every deadline was yesterday; this affects us all.

Recently when I received a second text from an online parishioner for not responding to the question he raised about the three wise men (not that it was important for salvation) I politely informed him that I feel a bit over whelmed with the number of messages I get and it’s not humanly possible to answer all. To this he wrote back telling me that he receives hundreds of messages which ‘he’ dutifully answers. In short, he subtly wanted me to know how incompetent he thought I was and how efficient he was. I refused to turn that one into a pissing contest. I let him have his trophy!

I guess you get thoughtless people and parishioners who think that their questions or situations are pivotal to the globe turning and that you are responsible for not responding asap (which for them means right now if not yesterday). But such kind of pressure also begins to weigh in on the clergy who then think they need to become accessible to every person rather than available to God. Prayer then takes a hit because you are a bad priest if you did not attend to me and God is not offended if you put him on pause.

These last few days have helped me become available to HIM. To be honest even though I pray, I feel these distractions both internally and then there is the phone even during prayer. To help me connect once again to a more sustained time of prayer, I did what I used to do earlier. Set a time for prayer, shut the door, switched off the phone (in fact I left it with my staff) and wrote on your door “DARE not disturb, in a meeting with God!” ( not that they should considering I am isolated).

Ambience also helps. I always picked a place and a spot in every church or chapel that I felt would give me the privacy to talk to God. I need this privacy as I talk rather loudly to him. I a rearranged the living room space in the rectory. That’s one of the privileges of living alone. I made myself my own little chapel where Jesus and I can have a chat together. I look forward to the next ten days when we will spend endless hours chatting.

Music also helps me to connect with God. I am not the silent kind of man, even in prayer. I need the noise to begin and gradually settle in to some quiet time. I suffered for years with my prayer life because of the imposition of my formators who set a pattern and period for prayer. I had to get special permission to take a walk through the seminary campus as part of my morning prayer. I was happiest alone in nature. The last few days I went back to listening to Don Moen hymns and several other worship songs. I was able to make an instant connect to God through song and the louder it played the better for me.

Perhaps you too have fallen off from that deep and devoted prayer life you once had. Entering once again into deep and devoted prayer life is tough but for those who once did it in their youth or experienced it at a retreat or where prayer was three times a day routine in your life, it’s possible to get back to that sacred space. Go back to the place or method you once connected with in order to connect to God. As a seminarian that special place was not the chapel but the terrace of the seminary, behind the water tank. Here I could pray and call out to God as I looked at the Aarey colony forest. I listened to praise and worship recorded on those tapes and replayed it on my Walkman through the earphones.

So, I am grateful for this forced time of rest and ironically grateful for COVID. It is like God’s way of telling me, slow down, come back to me, you are mine. These last few days I just want to be where God is. I don’t want to worship from afar. I am happy I am in his presence.

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26 thoughts on “What Covid-19 did for me – confessions of a priest. ”

  • So beautiful dear Fr Warner. I’m happy that you are happy with the time you have this awesome time with your Maker. Be blessed with gifts that God will choose for you. With love and prayers. Jennifer D’Cunha

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    • Thank you father for sharing your covid experiences. Some time you may not accept to relax, now you are forced to relax. God works in different way. God bless you. Get well soon.

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  • Thank you for sharing this Father, your experience brought a smile on my face ! Have a wonderful time 😁👍

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  • It was really lovely to read ur musings today, as it brought back my happier days spent in the seminary during formation n during the retreats which were for me very special times that I miss so much here in Goa n yes my favourite place were two of them; afternoons in the small chapel on the 3rd for n mornings or evenings, walking admist nature my all time love to really connect with the Almighty. You take care get well soon n do keep me n fly in prayer. GB 🙏🙏

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  • Get well soon and in the meantime enjoy your time with our God. Will pray for you too. God bless.

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    • Judeline June Noronha · Edit

      Fr. Warner, loved reading your introspection. Glad to hear you are doing well. Praise God. Music and that too Praise and Worship, is surely a wonderful way to slip into a conversation with our Maker.
      Glad you found your ‘Me Time’ with God.
      May our Lord keep you always, in the shelter of his wings.
      Stay safe and blessed always in Jesus, Fr. Warner.
      You are in our prayers.

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  • Lucy Guiao Fernandez · Edit

    Dear Fr. Warner, so good to hear you are doing good and in conversation with God. We all do need that quiet time to reconnect and hear His voice. He will direct you in your prayer journey. Stay blessed, stay care and look after yourself. You are in our prayers daily. Your online parishioner Lucy

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  • Beautifully written…straight from the heart.
    You have ‘We Time’ with the Lord.
    Thank you for the Reflections, really much appreciated.
    But must confess though that we do miss your homilies at mass.
    You are in our constant prayer. Take care and God Bless !
    regards Wendy

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  • Very True Fr. Warner. Most of the parishioners think that the priest should be at their beck and call. I think our Priests should put their foot down and keep their time with God unless of course it is an anointing of a very sick person. God Bless your work and give you good health.

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  • Dear Fr. Warner its so good to be positive in any situation. God has a plan in eerything .this must be his way of getting you cioser to him. And also to give you a breather. Those who pressurize you are thise who think they are the only living beings on earththey try to get importance. Give them a deaf ear,they will fall in line.Have a good alone time with our creator. GOD BLESS YOU always and protect u to continue your good work.

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    • Time spent with GOD in Prayer and Contemplatiom is the time of your life it feels like Eternity.

      I am glad Fr Warner that JESUS gave you a forced rest to spend time with HIM

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  • Wonderful to hear from you Fr. Praying for you..from the time the churches have been opened I do not attend your online masses but always listem to your daily homilies and also save them on my harddrive the written ones on your blog. Take care Fr.

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  • Glad to hear that your forced isolation has allowed you some ‘ME’ time. God’s plans are indeed beyond comprehension! HE has captured your undivided attention and will refresh you. I’m sure the spiritual rejuvenation in communion with HIM will heal you soon and the damage Covid has done will be vanquished. As Milton said, “ The mind is it’s own place, and itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” You are blessed with positivity and that is your strength. You are in my prayers. Get well soon. Miss your homilies. Sure your silent contemplation will yield much for us to reflect on when you get back.

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  • Thank you Father for sharing your experience with God and covid God is good all the time and all the time God is good, God bless you and keep you may his face shine upon you with love and mercy Amen We love you Father.

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  • Wow nice ending with the Don Moen hymn. Triggered a hum .
    Good to know Covid has not overcome you Fr. You needed this forced rest to reboot.Make the most of it and nevermind the naysayers.The temptation never ended in the desert for Jesus nor will the bricks that come with the bouquets for His evangelists.

    You signed off before isolating ,with a beautiful homily to keep us soulfed.
    Thank God for the team of priests that are celebrating mass in your absence and are inspiring us with the faith capsule in their own unique way.

    Keeping a prayerful heartbeat for you dear Fr. Enjoy the Re-treat while it lasts.

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  • God bless you Father. I am reading your reflection as a part of my morning prayer and it is so inspiring and insightful. Thank you 🙏🏼 for sharing this beautiful reflection. I too often struggle with mental prayer and very truly said God has strange ways of drawing His loved ones to Himself and forcing them to be in his presence. He is a selfish God and I love that about Him since each of us are so precious to Him. Thank you once again and let the love, peace and healing of God be over you always 🙏🏼

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  • God surely works in mysterious ways. He forced you to rest. Take care father. We continue to pray for you. Stay blessed.

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  • Get well soon fr.warner! In my ‘breakfast with Jesus’ (prayer time-need HIM more than breakfast to jumpstart my day) you are remembered in a very special way. For us, you are family.

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  • Dear Fr.Warner, You are a CHAMP even in illness. Nothing can bog you down as HIS SPIRIT sustains you through all HIS plans for you.
    As I fervently pray for your recovery, permit me to say that you have touched so many lives and shepherded them towards OUR LORD, that you must ignore the few who bother you unduly.

    GOD BLESS YOU WITH HIS HEALING TOUCH,
    You are so precious to us..

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  • Beautiful experience shared in words, I too have experience the same during the time of isolation/ quarantine as my work called for it, it was beautiful, only that I could not avoid phone calls from home as some tension was going on, but at the end of it …..The tension ceased to a beautiful bonding. The Lord knows and he decides to take us some place alone …but in his presence and awe. The Lord says “Be still and know, that HE is GOD”

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  • This confession is so beautiful and encouraging… Bless you heaps as you continue to serve Him and pray for us ❤

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  • Dear Fr. Warner.. Extremely happy to hear you are recovering well n will be in our midst soon.. As confessed I too find it difficult to concentrate n pray.. So many thoughts race in the mind at prayer time.. I like the suggestion that through music you get to prayer.. I too always think that prayer is something I can do later until it awakens the need in me.. Assure you my prayers at adoration in the morning on Goodness Tv.. Take till then father.

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  • Thank you Fr Warner for the straight from the heart sharing. Could relate with the prayer time turmoil one goes through. Have been struggling with it for a while. Will surely follow some tips. Yes! Surely, not attending to our phones will surely not make the earth stop spinning! Enjoy your Time with the Lord…yes! He may have planned it to have you with no distractions.
    Anyway, we miss you. Get well soon. God be with you till we hear/see you soon.

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  • Maryanne Mascarenhas · Edit

    Quite an Enjoyable Read! Padre!

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  • Thank you Fr. Warner for being a loving man and a guide to us all. At RC Matrimonial, we would love to help the community grow and become stronger by helping single bachelors and spinsters come together.

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