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Mar 09, 2021 357 Poor and unworthy friend of Christ,
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Overcoming Fear

It’s time to fight your fears away…

It was yet another Covid Sunday when I was ‘attending’ an online Mass with my family. Even at the behest of COVID, I could see that the Holy Spirit continued to inspire us through online Masses and powerful homilies. Despite that, due to my own weaknesses, I could see that my attentiveness and devotion to the Holy Mass had greatly reduced over a period of time. As the Mass continued, the priest was giving the Holy Eucharist to the very few people able to attend the Mass in person. On one side, I was feeling sad that I could not receive the Holy Eucharist and on the other side, I was trying to justify that staying home was the most prudent thing to do.

My spouse was also ‘attending’ the online mass with me while taking care of the kids. She works in the medical field, so has a natural awareness of actions which are not meeting the standard COVID protocol. She noticed that the priest missed sanitizing his hands before he gave the Holy Eucharist to the few parishioners attending the Mass. After that I felt bad about passing judgment on others. Though I was convinced that attending Mass online was the right thing to do, I wanted to try going to Mass at the Church again.  Despite the guilty feelings, I took courage and registered to attend Mass the next week. I doubted if it was a prudent decision at the time and had a hard time convincing my family.

Still beset by fear and anxiety, I set off for Mass the next Sunday. Despite a higher mortality rate for older people getting infected by COVID, almost all the people attending the Mass were old. I had no known health conditions and. despite being in my mid 30’s which is among the least affected age demographics for COVID, I was afraid to go to church. Sometimes I used to daydream about fearlessly standing up to proclaim my faith in Jesus Christ, like the early Christian Saints who were persecuted for doing so. Now at the smallest test of my faith, I had failed miserably.

I remembered all the days when I went out to buy groceries and other things which I had considered more essential than my spiritual food. I recalled my own assertion that Jesus Christ was truly present in the Holy Eucharist and many conversations about the Eucharistic miracles. But for many months, I had feared going to church to receive the Holy Eucharist and passed judgmental thoughts on the priest and others. God made me aware of how cowardly I was. My former words rang hollow and I lamented my failure to support my convictions with my actions.

I realized that despite being at home for close to a year, I was not getting any time for personal prayer and I my family’s prayer life had considerably reduced. We were fully engaged with work and household activities, while television and streaming services took up any free time remaining.

I thought back to the days before COVID changed our lives. My prayer life was much better and  I felt more motivated to live a holy life because I wanted to receive the Holy Eucharist whenever I went to Mass. I realized that my own holiness and prayer life was dependent on attending Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist. Luke 17:33 kept coming to my mind,

Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.

Because I am weaker than others, I have come to understand that my eternal life is very much dependent on attending Holy Mass and receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist as much as possible. Receiving the Holy Eucharist that day was very special, as I had been missing my spiritual food for such a long time. I still have my own little fears about COVID, especially because of any harm that I could cause to my family, but I am starting to put my faith in action by trusting our all powerful, merciful, understanding God and receiving my spiritual food at least every week.

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Poor and unworthy friend of Christ

©Poor and unworthy friend of Christ The author would like to be known this way.

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