Father Joseph V. Corpora, CSC, ’76, ’83M.Div. | June 10, 2020
Our faith teaches us that God is always at work, always bringing good out of every situation, always turning everything into what benefits us, always making everything that happens into something “meant to be.” At the same time, it is always difficult, and usually impossible, to know just what God is up to! It is extremely difficult in the present moment and less difficult, though just as problematic, to look at a situation in the past to discern what God is doing.
During the pandemic with so many deaths and so much suffering, during these months of lockdown and quarantine, during the daily contemplation when we realize how much we took for granted, we are all trying to figure out what God is doing, why is this happening. There is no end to the possibilities. The spectrum is wide. On the one hand, people who believe in an angry and vengeful God see this pandemic as God’s way of expressing anger with humanity, of telling us to shape up, of calling us to task. If this is how God is, then count me among the nonbelievers for I could never believe in this kind of God.
On the other hand, people who believe in a loving and faithful God, a God who pours out his mercy on us, see this pandemic as an opportunity to press the reset button and re-center our lives on what matters most. This time of pause beckons us to ask difficult questions about what really is important in life.
Without diminishing the overwhelming sadness of so many lives and livelihoods lost, Father Michael Casagram, OCSO, a Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky says in America magazine that the pandemic offers a “moment for human breakthrough.” Rather than continuing to pursue power and wealth, we could come to understand that they “create an illusion of meaning and purpose while undermining our spiritual destiny.” We think that power and wealth give us a measure of control, but instead, he says, “they close the door to grace.”
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