God our Father you constantly call on us to drop our masks and show our true selves. As we put on our face coverings and watch others wear theirs, help us not to see in this action a hiding or covering of our true selves. Help us to see it as an image of who we really are; people called to do things for love of neighbour. As I protect my neighbour by wearing my mask and they protect me by wearing theirs may our masks become symbols of mutual love.
You call us to walk with one another. And yet, in these times we are called to maintain a safe distance from one another. In the safe spaces created by social distancing, may we be enabled to see each other in a new way. May the new perspective it creates enable us to take a second glance and see something new in myself, in others and in life. May we take nothing for granted. May we be surprised and enriched by what we notice from our new view on life. In this sense of space may we all be given the grace to grow in new and creative ways.
You call us to stretch our hands in friendship and love and yet we are encouraged not to touch and to keep our hands sterile. In the washing of our hands help us to be reminded that it is one hand that washes the other. Like our hands we too need the each other, we cannot do this alone. Help us to see that in our hands we hold the potential to do good and to harm. May this realisation enable us to use our hands in loving, caring, gentle and safe ways. While we might not be able to take another’s hand, we might be able to help them lift their load.
It is more than a virus that has the potential to grow in these time. Anxiety, suspicion, prejudice, paranoia and loneliness can all thrive under the cloak of this pandemic. In those moments when we feel overwhelmed calm our fear. In those moments when we find it hard to keep a grip on reality help us to be grounded. In those moments when we find it hard to trust and we feel unsure, give us the support we need. And when we feel alone remind us of who those who truly love us and of your promise to be always with us as our friend and companion. Amen.
(Fr. Michael Collins, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth)