A Time for Prayer
On the day of the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, held on 25th April, 2020, Pope Francis released a letter at St. John Lateran, Rome, addressed to all the “Faithful for the Month of May 2020.”
This letter, a short one indeed, consisting of just four paragraphs with 255 words, comes as his personal invitation to “rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May.”
Along with the letter, Pope Francis has forwarded two prayers dedicated to Mother Mary which he recommends to the faithful to recite at the end of the Rosary, adding that he himself will pray throughout the month of May to manifest his spiritual solidarity with all those who recite the said prayers.
At the background of this letter, the Pope has in mind with deeper consciousness the on-going pandemic of COVID-19 that has shaken and woken up the entire humanity across the globe.
He is hopeful and confident that, through the intercession of Mary, normalcy will be restored. This is why he strongly recommends the prayer of the Rosary to be recited by families during the month of May which is dedicated to Mother Mary, just as the month of October is likewise dedicated to her.
Both the prayers are Marian prayers, seeking Mary’s unfailing intercession in these troubled times.
In the First Prayer, Mary is named as “Health of the Sick” while in the Second Prayer, she is called “the Consolation of the Afflicted.”
As she intervened at the wedding reception at Cana in Galilee, we pray that “joy and celebration may return after this time of trial.” Invoking upon her maternal protection, we implore to her to “deliver us always from every danger.”
The Second Prayer, though long, is comprehensive and more contextualized to the pandemic scenario. Acknowledging that the “whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety,” we lift up our supplication that “this great suffering may end and hope and peace may dawn anew.”
In this prayer, the frontliners of the battle against COVID-19 are specially remembered, namely, the doctors, nurses, technicians, health workers, who are endangering their own lives in order to save those infected with the virus.
Mary’s blessing is invoked upon those researching and experimenting in the laboratories so that an effective medicine to cure the disease is found.
Her intercession is sought to provide solace and comfort to the families of the sick, and eternal happiness to those who passed away. Her intercession and blessing are invoked upon the leaders of the nations that they may work hard to mitigate the sufferings of the peoples and reach out to the needy through proper social and economic welfare measures as well as to enlighten the leaders to provide adequate funds towards “promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.”
This second prayer ends by imploring Mother Mary to protect the suffering humanity, and that God deliver the human race from “this terrible pandemic,” and that “life can serenely resume its normal course.”
Fr. Walter de Sa
(Courtesy The Navhind Times, 6/5/20)