Gratitude – Fr Joe

I saw a graph in this morning’s paper illustrating the dramatic fall in the numbers of people in hospital and in ICU with Covid 19, it was a very uplifting image. We had hoped that the effect of the vaccines would be swift and the evidence shows that to be the case. Please God we will never see another spike in numbers again.
During the past 16 months, I lost two friends to Covid, both from the Philippines and working in the health sector. One left a wife and three children and the other a husband and an infant child. Their experience of Covid won’t be transformed by the vaccine as they carry this loss every day and it is cruelly painful.
Just after Christmas, I asked for prayers for another friend, a teacher in his early 50’s who had tested positive, gone home to bed, was discovered unconscious the next morning and rushed to hospital and straight into ICU. As the days turned into weeks, he lay in an induced coma, with very little improvement in his blood oxygen levels.
His family and friends started a prayer circle, lighting candles and praying for him each evening. In our WhatsApp group images were shared of the candles burning in a whole variety of homes. As we approached the 40th day, and hope was fading the first good news came, a slight improvement. All in all, he was 78 days in hospital. The afternoon he arrived home the whole estate came out and clapped, cheered and whistled, he knew how much his recovery meant to so many.
On Sunday evening, I met him for dinner, outdoors at a friend’s house and couldn’t believe how well he was. At first, he didn’t talk about his experience at all, but then late into the evening the whole story spilled out. It was full of gratitude for the medical, nursing and general staff at the hospital who had taken over his life, provided for his every need and brought him back to
life. He was deeply moved by the prayers and good wishes of family and friends. He, and all of us, had a deep insight into how precious life is, how much we matter to others and the supports that are there in our darkest hour.
It is a wonderful feeling when prayers are answered, thank God all is well now for him, and thanks too for your prayers for all the sick.