In a statement released this week, Archbishop Jose Fernandez Arteaga of Chihuahua, Mexico reflected on the health crisis facing the country and said the situation reveals that “we depend on God.”
The archbishop said while God “has given us the commandment to increase, multiply and care for the earth, we know that he continues to be the owner of ‘our’ bodies, of ‘our’ members and of ‘our’ health.”
The archbishop went on to recall that “the fifth commandment (Thou shall not kill) commands us to respect the life that we call our own and that of others,” and therefore “the precautions that we freely take are a way of manifesting the love we have for others, in order to protect their health and ours, and thus we fulfill the will of the Lord.”
Referring later to the cancelation of Masses on Sunday, the archbishop encouraged Mexicans to take time to converse with the Lord and with their families. The Church “asks us that on Sunday the faithful (in addition to the obligation to attend Mass) ‘abstain from work and activities that inhibit the worship of God, relish the joy that is proper to the day of the Lord or enjoy the due rest of mind and body.’ This will continue making that day anointed,” he said.
“I don’t want to suggest a particular ‘prayer’ or ‘form of prayer’ for these days with the Eucharist,” he added. “The prayer of contemplation, of listening, of expressing that which is born from deep within our being, will be a manner of celebrating the day of the Lord,” the archbishop said.
He also encouraged Catholics to make visits to the Blessed Sacrament and said priests should celebrate the Mass in private “that God might free us from this epidemic and its consequences.”