How has COVID-19 created opportunities for spiritual growth?
Almost every person who has taken the time to reflect on COVID-19 notices that these are unique times. For the first time, many of us have been required to socially distance, or wear face masks. But diseases and pandemics have been a part of human life since the beginning. Our opportunity lies in how we deal with them and how we use these unique times for our benefit.
Let’s start with the simple things. We were asked to keep away from each other to limit the risk of infection. Social places closed down, schools were barely operational, workers and students were working from home. At first it was frustrating, but then we realised this could be a great blessing!
Why? Our lives had become so frantic. There was no time for anything and yet we were expected to do everything. Suddenly, COVID-19 forced us to stop. We stayed home. We sat. We listened. We communicated with each other. Perhaps we thought about God. Maybe we reached out to Him.
Do you see how we have been given a chance to stop and appreciate creation, our families, reading, praying, cooking something nice? Suddenly life is pleasant. We can breathe again.
COVID-19 has brought with it something more challenging: not being allowed to go to Church. Again, this is not the first time in history. Churches were closed in the wartime and during plagues. Worshipping together is a beautiful bonding part of our faith and life. Receiving
Holy Communion is our spiritual medicine. Missing out on these things should hurt a little. But hopefully we have used this time as an opportunity to pray together at home and to do extra worship in our room. Hopefully missing out on common worship has helped us realise that we have taken it for granted. Just like when we return to food after fasting and the humble egg tastes so good, so too when we return to the church we appreciate what we missed.
Finally, for some people COVID-19 has meant sickness and suffering. Even here there is a great opportunity to benefit our soul. At the point of sickness, our body is weak, but our soul can be enriched. Many sick people use the wonderful opportunity of illness to turn to God with even more fervour. They lie in bed, reflect on their spiritual weaknesses, and make promises to God. They feel sorry for their sins. They re-evaluate their priorities in life and figure out what really matters. Hopefully, when their health returns, they will not forget how deeply spiritual they were in their time of need. Hopefully they will keep their promises to God. Hopefully they will return to the Lord and thank him for all that they have that is good.
As a large family on this little planet, we have the duty, the honour and the pleasure of helping each other in times of need. COVID-19 has given us so many opportunities to help each other, and that makes us feel great because it brings our souls closer to God. Why do our souls feel great when we help each other? Because that is what He would do.
† Fr N. S.
Source: Lychnos August–September 2020