I am desperate to get back to “normal.” This has been the most trying time of my life having just returned from maternity leave with my second child in the midst of shelter-in-place orders. My stress level is stretched thin and I feel spiritually weak and emotionally exhausted. The personal impacts of the novel coronavirus have had widespread variability across the world. While some people indicate that life feels mostly normal, others have experienced great suffering and grief from overcoming illness or losing a loved one.
The Church and the world has felt very dark and yet this unique time of suffering seems to be uniting all of humanity. In Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology, he beautifully states, “Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.” We need to take this time as an opportunity to reset our priorities. In recent history we have abandoned concern for the world and become focused on self. While we begin anew after the pandemic, we need to fight for a change, moving “gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs.”
While we are in isolation, we should focus on re-establishing our personal priorities to fit the needs of the world and the Church. In the spirit of Laudato Si, a greater concern for our communities both local and worldwide is a strong area where we may begin. Everyone experiences grief in different measures, and in a sense, we are all in a grieving period as we transition from away from what we once knew to a new reality. During this time we should re-learn how to unite with others in a communal spirit. This could include reaching out to others in their own grievance, establishing more environmentally-friendly practices in our homes in effort to care for our common home, and taking time to recommit ourselves in prayer to experience a sacrament of communion with the world. While we are on our knees, we should stand up ready for a change.