“Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope; to Thee do we cry..”

– from the ‘Salve Regina’

The world awoke today to the sad news that we have reached what is being called ‘a grim milestone’ – we have now passed one million deaths worldwide from the Coronavirus pandemic, with more than 33 million official cases recorded.

Each one of these is a person, a human being, and this number should touch all our hearts. Every one of them has a family and loved ones who are mourning their loss. And there are all those who are presently ill, and those who are fearful for themselves, their loved ones, their livelihoods and their futures.

There is more than a little irony that humanity – with all it’s intelligence and ability, it’s skill and it’s science, it’s self-reliance and it’s pride – has been brought low and humbled by the smallest living organism, a simple virus.

Perhaps this realisation will teach us someting – that we do not always have the answers and that we ourselves are not all powerful, neither individually nor collectively.

Perhaps it will remind us that we need to look far beyond ourselves and toward God, Who alone is all powerful.

There is no doubt that this pandemic has been terribly destructive for human life and for the economies of many nations; and it is making us see that we need to determine what our priorities are, and to make decisive choices based on what we decide. Perhaps it will make us see that we are in the best state when we all work together for the common good, even whilst certain nations have decided to go it alone.

In the Catholic prayer of the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen), we ask the Mother of God to help us, reminding Her we have confidence in Her maternal love for us and in Her powerful intercession before the Lord. Perhaps today is a good time for all of us echo this beautiful and ancient prayer and to ask Her help for all of humanity –

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To Thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to Thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, Thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.

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