For 2024, the Bishops of Malta and Gozo are proposing that as a country, and as Christians, we ought to reflect on the five gifts of God that Dun Karm Psaila, the national poet, reminds us of in Malta’s national anthem: sound judgement, mercy, health, unity and peace. This reflection is particularly significant as this year, Malta celebrates 60 years of independence and 50 years as a republic.

The five gifts that Dun Karm prays for in Malta’s National Anthem—sound judgement, mercy, health, unity and peace—are gifts of the Lord because Dun Karm teaches us to pray, “Give, great God” sound judgement, mercy, health, unity, and peace.

In my third reflection during this Lent, I wish that we would think a little about the gift of health. When we think of health, we immediately think of physical health, but there is also psychological health and spiritual health. Another beautiful word of salvation that Jesus brings for us through his death and resurrection from the dead is the word ‘health’, salus. Therefore, the word ‘salvation’ is an invitation to live our health holistically: physical health—taking care of myself as well as of others; psychological health—taking care of my peace of mind, the  purity of my heart, and also helping others, especially those experiencing difficulties, especially the great suffering of solitude. 

We also have spiritual health, brothers and sisters. We also pray that as a population, we will not only be in good physical health individually, but also enjoy good health as a nation and have a long future ahead. Health, after all, means making your life a happy one. We consider good health to be one of the greatest gifts. Many of us say, “What use is it to have everything but not be in good health?” When you visit someone in the hospital, you understand the importance of health.

During this Lent and Holy Easter Jesus will be among us as the Doctor of the Soul. Therefore, we need to accept that we need the doctor and understand that in some aspects of our life, we are sick. However, while we pray for the gift of good health, let us also pray for our country to have a future.

While praying for good health for us, I also pray for the beautiful gift of children, in accordance with God’s will and depending on the circumstances of every one of us. We undersand that our culture—that welcomes  and cares for babies—is a beautiful one if it ensures the good health of our people.