By Fr Ethel Anarado
As the world is being ravaged by an invisible enemy and many dead bodies could not even be contained in morgues, there are still a lot of people who live in doubt of the reality of COVID19. We have seen even some religious pundits and leaders across the globe who say it doesn’t exist. But the truth is that it is out there, wrecking havoc on lives and destroying world’s economy, tumbling us all out of modes of living and social connections. My reflection borders on lessons we can learn from this pandemic.
1. You and I are not in charge of our lives. There are so many people living ‘life on the edge’ and because of few abilities they have, they believe that they are super-humans. Not only do some of these people live under the guise that they have it all, but they live under the illusion that they are invincible.
It is this kind of people that I have referred to in another reflection as having the ‘delusion of omnipotence’ and should be roused from this false impression. Related to this is still another group that believes that they have been gifted with so much knowledge and therefore suffer from the ‘delusion of omniscience’. But the truth is that we know just so little. Only God knows everything because He is God. Omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence are Divine attributes and therefore we are so much limited as human beings.
All human beings are contingent and our existence is dependent on the only true Necessary being: God alone. It is therefore absolutely wrong for any human person to start thinking that he or she is a creator and not a creature. These days of the pandemic teach us that we are not in control, and that God is — a powerful and healing lesson for all of life (Matthew 5:3).
2. We are more fickle and assailable than we can ever imagine and this is tied with the last point on our human contingency. This pandemic has indeed launched an attack on our human fickle nature. It is an opportunity to slow down a little and ponder on what really matters and of the ‘transcendent’. It gives us the opportunity to really appreciate life more and many of the good things we easily take for granted. At a time like this, because of the lockdown and the global pulse, millions of people find it difficult to take care of even their basic needs.
It is an opportunity to think deeply of all we have that God has given to us and appreciate them, knowing that He is ever-provident God. Even the ability to breathe well daily is grace considering the fact that many afflicted by this disease can’t even breathe well. We must take nothing for granted in life. There is a tremendous joy in even the minutest things of life. We don’t always value what we have or the people in our lives till we lose them.
3. Many of us are at this moment learning the values of stillness, contemplation and beauty of silence. In our hyper-active society, many feel tormented and tortured by the global quietude. But I think it is an opportunity to grow in enhancing our humanity, building a relationship with the ‘Absolute’ and reflect more on what really matters.
What of enhancing the bond of family life and values? Having more time for personal and family prayers? Reading books that I have hitherto put aside for a long time? Or perhaps developing a skill in writing? Again, even though there has been an upsurge in domestic violence among some married couples, there is no gainsaying that it’s a time of bonding more and connecting with people who should really be close to us.
4. Finally, there is an opportunity to take care of one another. The pandemic has dramatized in an agonizing way the disparity among classes in the society. In some developing countries, one observes, how hopelessly-famished individuals break homes and stores as they steal food .This may grow into a more austere situation. The leaders of different societies have to do something more tangible in order take care of the needy