By Father Neil Vaney Living through the Covid-19 pandemic has made many of us sharply aware of something we thought we knew but largely ignored. It is the omnipresence of microbes. They dwell on our hands and faces. They can live briefly on doorknobs and railings. They may congregate on an apple that we pick up at the supermarket. Many are friendly; without them we could not live. Others like Covid-19 are concealed weapons able to penetrate nearly all human defences. As we have become aware of these tiny lethal creatures we have been brought short by this reminder of human frailty and vulnerability. We are journeying creatures, destined to death. We have seen two extreme reactions to this truth. The first has been to try to close oneself off as much as possible, in an effort to construct a fortress around ourselves and our families. The second is to accept paying a price to cling to the lives that prosperity has brought. Those who adopt this position argue as follows: certainly, many of the vulnerable will die but in time a vaccine will appear or herd immunity will gradually develop. Fear lurks unacknowledged behind both these options, as well as an unspoken denial of human fragility.
Did you know that the power of the Holy Spirit works better than any disinfectant? Lately, we all have had the experience of regularly disinfecting our hands. But even if doing so is reasonable and necessary, no disinfectant can give you the comfort and sense of security that the Holy Spirit brings. I, too, have experienced that because of his work, I managed to overcome many fears regarding the uncertain future and found the strength for new creativity.
I just can’t catch a break. I remember hearing my mum utter these words at her most stressful times when I was a kid. I also remember thinking, “Could it really be that bad?” Now that I’m adult, I better understand how my mum sometimes feels. There are days—and even weeks—when I just can’t seem to catch a break. Do you ever feel this way? Like you can’t keep up with all of life’s demands and responsibilities? Like there’s no time to rest?
In the face of adversity, such as the Covid-19 virus outbreak in China which is now a global health emergency, Chinese Christians find themselves drawing closer to God. During this time of home quarantine for the health and safety of all citizens, the authorities forbid all collective gatherings, imposed extended holidays for schools and companies and travel restrictions. Some cities have stepped up precautionary measures by allowing only one or two household members to leave the house to buy daily essentials every other day or once in five days.