The world certainly has dramatically changed over the course of the last week or so. Schools are shut down for an undetermined amount of time. Public Mass and houses of worship are cancelled or closed until further notice. My son's speech therapist and physical therapist are no longer able to do home visits and have switched to tele-health. His feeding therapist's office is closed until further notice. I cancelled my daughter's 7th birthday party before I even had a chance to send out the invites. Restaurants are not able to do dine-in service and have moved to curbside pickup or delivery only. Most major sports, such as the NBA, have been cancelled for the season. "Social Distancing" is a new term in our vernacular and the only social distancing sport that I can think of is golf. With so many indoor play places closed, my family has taken to hiking deserted nature trails, away from people and possibly infected surfaces. All of my speaking engagements have been cancelled, as has my children's after school activities. And the economy.... oh, that economy! It looks as though we are headed into a recession.
Stores are left with bare shelves as consumers have been "panic shopping." 2020 will be remembered as the year that the toilet paper went missing at the same rate that hand washing increased. Online delivery of goods has severely increased and Amazon has said that it will add a huge number of new jobs in order to keep up with the demand. Yet, I still can't find flour or cleaning supplies in-stock on the retail giants website... nor, toilet paper.
We have seen the Coronavirus (COVID-19) shock not just our beloved nation, but the entire world. Italy has all but shut down and other nations are following suit. Who knows how many of our own citizens will lose their jobs because of this virus. It seems as if the world is crashing down around us.
It's God's reset button. There have been other viruses with a greater risk of dying; remember the good ol' flu? How about H1N1? Yet, COVID-19 is different. It is as if God has hit the reset button. He did promise that he would never flood the earth again during the time of Noah. Though not with water, it seems as if our Almighty is flooding the world again. He is forcing us to spend time with our families. He is forcing us to reign in our spending. He is forcing us to die to self so that we can unite as one. We have seen Republicans and Democrats unite. We have seen over 100 countries suffer through the effects of COVID-19 and, for the most part, provide guidance to one another. We have seen families and friends support each other more frequently through group text messages and social media. I have seen my neighbors checking in on each other, all while keeping a distance of at least six feet. Could it be that God has truly reset the entire world?
In my opinion, God has absolutely hit the reset button and is calling us to die to self and to die to sin, all during the time of Lent. Coincidence? I think not. One of my priest friends posted on Facebook, "I didn't expect to give up this much for Lent!" My uncle, also a priest, responded with, "That's okay. Just give up sin." I couldn't agree more. Just give up sin. We may or may not have access to Church and confessionals, but we do have access to our own self-control. We do have the choice to give up sin.
During this challenging time I urge you to give up sin, practice extreme patience, pray for persecuted Christians around the world and put on a brave face of hope and courage. Cling to the virtues, prayer and Sacred Scripture. Remember that this is a time in our children's lives that they will always remember. Help them learn hope and courage. Help them learn self-control and the choice of refusing sin. Allow God's reset button to truly sink in; allow Him to reset your spiritual life so that you may be brought closer to His heart.
My dear readers, I pray that all of you stay strong, healthy, hopeful and full of courage and patience during this trying time. I challenge you to pray a daily Rosary for our world. If you can only manage a decade, then that is okay too. Pray for healing of our world, its people and the economy. Pray that you use God's reset button in ways that you never thought possible.
This is the time that He will transform your life.
"Faith doesn't make things easy, it makes them possible." -Luke 1:37