In the middle of May this year, we had a family emergency at my house. For the first time in my life, I had to call 911 for an ambulance to pick up my wife. She was bleeding profusely, passed out on the bed, and was under a great deal of distress.
The ambulance arrived quickly and rushed my wife to the hospital. She was given one unit of blood and figured out what was wrong with her in a matter of hours. Case solved. But this occasion got me thinking about something else.
We worry so much about our physical health - why do we not worry about our spiritual health? We go to the Emergency Room for serious physical injuries. But do we do the same when we need a spiritual check-up?
What did the Lord tell us to do to restore our spiritual health? The Holy Bible is full of suggestive help for both types of urgent care. Let us remember these verses the next time we need help:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:28
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” — James 5:14-15
“‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD…” — Jeremiah 30:17
“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” — Proverbs 4:20-22
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” — Proverbs 17:22
“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” — Malachi 4:2
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” — Matthew 9:35
“And the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.” — Luke 6:19
According to a March 2021 Pew Study, COVID 19 has had tremendous impacts on Church attendance. In March 2021, 24% of Catholics surveyed claimed their faith had deepened because of the one-year shutdown of Churches. That number was about half the percentage of Protestants’ response to the same question.
This fact may be because of the reason for the Mass (Divine Liturgy) itself. In the Church, the center of the service is the Eucharist. We fully believe that after the Priest invokes the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
If this is indeed true, it is the one thing that can not be fully experienced through live streaming. We must be present to partake in the real presence.
In the same survey, 64% of Catholics surveyed claimed their faith had not changed during the long hiatus from Church. This is significant. The fact that so many peoples’ faiths did not change when they were unable to attend Mass leads me to reflect on three key aspects.
First, almost 2 out of 3 Catholics surveyed said that not attending church did not impact their faith. Really? How can not going to church be good for one's faith and spirituality? How can not attending church be good for the Church?
Simply put, it can not be good, by definition. And if lack of church attendance is a good thing, then the Church has some significant problems on the horizon.
Second, both the Old and New Testaments contain many verses that deal with spiritual health and physical health, indicating a direct link between the physical and spiritual wellbeing of a person. In today's world, we often forget these words of wisdom at our disposal and instead worry about the physical care of a person without being concerned about their spiritual wellbeing.
Thirdly, in the city where I live, there are almost as many Urgent Care Centers as there are churches. What does this say about our society? We have access to Urgent Care Centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for our physical ailments, but it has become extremely difficult if not impossible to get treated for our spiritual issues.
We need a change in our society. We need to get back to reading our Bibles, back to nurturing our faith, back to our Churches. We need consistent Spiritual Check-ups, now and forever. Amen.