St. Padre Pio taught us that we should pray, hope, and not worry.
In Isaiah 41:10, the Lord tells us: “Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you.”
The coronavirus has brought many potential fears to our lives. With closings, isolations, social distancing, kids at home, shortages at the grocery store, lost wages, and increased uncertainty, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and allow fear to creep in.
When we don’t have control over things in our lives, we may start to panic. Sometimes we start to feel like things will fall apart. We may even wonder where God is. But these are the times when we must rely on our faith. Throughout the Bible, God tells us that He is here to take care of us. Just as any good father, He will never leave us.
While the events of our world and our lives are certainly disturbing and distressing, they can also serve as distractions from our spiritual lives and inhibit our spiritual growth. We cannot ignore what’s going on in the world around us, but we can make sure we don’t suffer spiritually because of these events. In fact, times like these can even strengthen our spiritual lives.
Build a culture of life
This holy season of Lent is probably like no other you have experienced. We are all forced to take time off from our daily routines. School is out, restaurants are closed, and we are encouraged to stay home as much as possible so that we don’t infect the most vulnerable among us.
Building and spreading a culture of life has never been more important than it is today. Though it’s easy to get bogged down in our personal lives and to retreat into our own worlds, we must remain cognizant that now is the time to put the well-being of others first. Let this be part of your Lenten sacrifice.
So take advantage of this time with your family. Take advantage of the quiet time. Talk to your children about why we must stay at home and about how doing so helps us indirectly care for the vulnerable. Talk to them about what could happen to the elderly, the disabled, and those who are pregnant if they contract this virus. Talk to them about what could happen if hospitals exceed their capacities. Help them act in the person of Christ and care for others by denying themselves some of the pleasures of “normal” life so that others may stay safe and healthy.
Teach your family to rely on God, to not fear, and to make these sacrifices joyfully and out of love. When they see you modeling Christ’s love and Catholic charity, they will do so as well, and you will all grow in the faith.
So yes, give this Lent to God, and let it be like no other. Pray as a family and play as a family. Enjoy the time together. But use it as time to grow spiritually. It is Lent after all, and the suffering we endure is nothing compared to how Christ suffered.
It may be easier said than done to follow Padre Pio’s advice to not worry, but with prayer you will start to feel Christ’s peace. When you pray and give your worries to God, you will realize that God is truly in control, and you will become like the man who walked along the beach and saw only one set of footprints during the difficult times. God told him, “My precious child . . . when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
Allow God to carry you and your family through these difficult times. He will never leave you.