Massive contagions, large scale hope! St. Paul says, “I consider that others are experiencing or suffered quarantines, rationing of food and supplies are things many of us only knew from books, television and movies. A virus outbreak was something we only imagined but never thought would happen. We are now living in a worldwide pandemic. The coronavirus has turned life upside down and all around. However, there is reason to the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). Though we are in critical and uncertain times, we can conquer fear, doubt and weakness through Christ who strengthens us.
The coronavirus has impacted our life, work, play and even the way we pray. Many have lost their lives and through the virus’ painful effects. Several are not working while some are now unemployed. Momentous life events and special occasions have been postponed or cancelled. All this has caused disappointment, heart break and frustration. Patiently accepting this trial and working through major changes in our lives is challenging.
It is natural and okay to be concerned, afraid and angry. The greatest temptations are to let concern become worry, allow fear to consume us and permit anger to overtake us. Jesus experienced all these emotions throughout his life. “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). We see this beginning with His infancy when Joseph and Mary went to Egypt to escape Harrod, at His temptation in the desert, throughout the persecution and rejection during His public ministry and most profoundly in His passion and death. The Lord conquers all evils and suffering through His love of the Father and us. While enduring excruciating physical and interior suffering in the crucifixion, Christ continues to love and show mercy. Suffering did not break Him, and death does not destroy Him. He rises from the dead on the third day.
COVID-19 has impacted our lives but we can’t let it damage or destroy our faith, hope and charity. As Christ’s pain intensified, so did his love. Like Him our charity can increase during temptation and affliction. St. Paul says,
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured
into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
This pandemic has also slowed us down, moving us to think critically about what is most important in life: God, family, and good health. We now have an opportunity for quiet and solitude. God can use this for good, if we let Him. Making the most out of this time of lockdown can make us stronger in faith, hope and charity. Take a few extra minutes every day to pray and do spiritual reading. Increasing our devotions and prayer time will brings back into normal life holier and stronger. Work on improving your charity and service. St. Paul says, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
If we suffer like Christ so shall we rise like Him! It is time to rise above this virus and approach it like Christ approached his suffering. Be determined to come back stronger and conquer through Christ who strengthens us!