As we approach the feast of the Lord’s resurrection on Sunday, April 12, we may well feel like we have been entombed by the precautionary measures that have altered the rhythm of life these days given the threat associated with coronavirus. All this is certainly without precedent in our lifetimes.
We struggle daily enough with the cold and flu and other discomforts and can find relief in most instances with over-the-counter meds. And, let’s admit it, we Americans are not used to health crises of this nature and scope that hit other areas around the world. The austerity of Lent and what the season can mean faces us squarely this time around. What is God saying to us in this time of anxiety and misfortune?
The season’s remaining days is a time for prayer and sober reflection on our dependence upon the mercy of God. What prayer can we recite together as a household while we are waiting on the Lord? For we cannot heal ourselves. While churches are closed these days for sake of the fright connected with contagion, once they are reopened, we hope many more unused to the regimen of weekly ritual focus on God might be inclined to reorder their lives and join us. While we already have made necessary changes to our lifestyle and readjusted certain habits, we might measure which of these we might carry over once this is all over — what needs particular attention on our part for a better quality of life and spiritual tone to our busy lives.
Certainly, a healing in response to a bad turn with health is one of the gifts of God. “But first, seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all things will be added unto you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (Mt 6: 33-34).
Bishop Joseph N. Perry is auxiliary bishop of Chicago.