Some Thoughts: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Human Longings
Throughout the history of the world, humanity has gone through lots of experiences that constantly made men and women be changed and transformed into better individuals. Those experiences, which may have either been positive or negative, got into human systems, affecting people’s lives in different spheres. They often take place in particular settings, as it is in the example of natural disasters. However, even though negative human experiences are located in a particular place, they might as well affect other people from far lands too, inasmuch as moments of crisis in the history of the world may touch people’s emotions and feelings, affecting their psychological state of mind. This is most especially the case of a global crisis related to sicknesses and wars. Thus, in view of what is happening in our world today, I decided to sit down for a while, reflect, and write a few words on the Corona Virus Pandemic, “COVID 19” and some human longings.
The virus has arrived in every single place in the world. It infected some people and brought fear to others. The COVID 19 came to affect each individual around the globe, regardless of his or her economic status, race, skin color, sexual orientation, religion, etc. No matter whether one believes or not in God, we are all equal before this virus and vulnerable to it. This is the reality we are facing nowadays: the Corona Virus Pandemic is not just particularly shaking the whole world, but it is also in a way providing a break for our ecosystem so that mother earth can rest, while people are locked down inside their homes. We are required to be confined within the limits of our houses, and to take some social distancing from one another. Giving a simple hug to our loved ones today means being at risk of getting infected. The only thing we can do, then, to express our love toward one another is by just looking from afar at each other’s face and embracing all with a huge smile in the face.
These experiences are shaking the inner-self of every human person. Emotions and feelings, such as fear, sadness, and stress are being awake inside of us. Perhaps, anxiety will be the most common one among them all. On the other hand, however, we should also look at how this virus is affecting humanity in a positive way. Times of suffering may bring about a lot of negative consequences, but they may also bring transformation and conversion. This Global Pandemic reminds us of our fragility, fear of death, isolation, lockdown, the feeling of being imprisoned in our own houses, for if we go out, we are exposed to danger.
From this perspective, paths of spirituality are opening which should lead us out of ourselves, towards transcendence and the encounter with God. With this encounter comes the hope that leads us beyond materiality and directs us towards the infinite. By embracing the divine, people have the opportunity to immerse themselves on a life that does not cease, but one that pulses and encourages.
But where can we find this source of the supreme God, when everything gets dark and gloomy around us? It is precisely in charity towards the one who suffers. This is so because in the practice of love the true essence of the sacred is revealed. We see this in the examples of Mother Tereza of Calcutta, on her the shines sanctity which emanates from caring for the needy, the sick, and for those whom no one wants. We can see it as well though the actions of Pope Francis as he knelt down asking God’s intervention to help us in facing this storm.
In the professional field, there are many who do this today in hospitals plagued by the coronavirus worldwide. Doctors, nurses, and all individuals inside the hospitals are in the front line to face the unknown and the danger no matter how dreadful that could be.
The confrontation with suffering also invites us to an interior itinerary in search of enlightenment, which comes through prayer and meditation and forms a dialogue with the Divine. Buddha began his spiritual path in contact with human frailty after leaving the magnificent palace in which he was raised. It is a universal invitation.
In addition to our fragility, the current pandemic we are experiencing reminds us of our dependence. We are dependent beings. Nobody can take care of him or herself alone. Every single person needs someone; He/she always depends on others. We are beings created for solidarity, for connection, and for affection.
Let's take advantage of these times for a deeper connectivity experience with that and with those that really matter to us. I hope that the world will not be the same after the COVID-19 despair. I hope that the longing for hugs, hand-shakes, and personal contacts would make us more affectionate; that longing for our faith-communities would strengthen more our faith; that longing for our grandparents would make us love and visit them more and that the vision of our fragility and smallness would allow us to look up above and ask God to help us to be each day more human and Divine.
About the author:
Father Wilson de Jesus Mendes, CICM is a native from Brazil. He has been a Missionary-Priest in the Philippines since 2009. He is currently following a course on Formation for Formators at the Saint Anselm Institute, In Rome.