“It is a time to decide to live differently, live better, love more and care for others… redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, even forgotten people, who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines…” These thought provoking words of the fragile looking Pope Francis given at his ‘Prayer for the city of Rome and for the World’ on 27th March 2020. It makes us all strong at the moment pain, anxiety and thought of death.
In the form of address to God, the Pope said “it is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”
Recognizing the struggles and the fears the people of the world are undergoing, the Pope said “with the pandemic and its sickness and death, and with the lockdowns and closures of schools and workplaces, it has felt like for weeks now it has been evening… Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by… We feel it in the air, we notice it in people’s gestures; their glances give them away.”
He was frank to say that ‘the pandemic storm has made most people realize that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented.’ Yes, this worldwide epidemic has opened the minds of people to know what our life is made of, what is needed in life, the futile matters we have engaged in. It has shown in a hard way the fragile nature of humanity, the environment, our economy and the values and ideals that govern our lives. And it has shown how each person has a contribution to make, at least in comforting each other. It has made to realize that we all need each other, whatever we are, whichever walks of life we have chosen to live.
The Pontiff was also quick to recognize the courage and strength of people who went out of their own fears and vulnerability in caring for others… “every community is filled with people who are role models—individuals who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives.” We particularly remember many medical persons and other caregivers such as priests have offered their lives at this trying moment.
At the same time, we are painfully made to realize that… Politicians and millionaires who amazed wealth are at the mercy of humble nurses and medical staff. Those who flew to America for treatment and to Europe for body scan are satisfied with improvised public health facility in our own land. They suffer the same condition with the destitute of the streets and slums. Tears of fear and pain are the same from palaces to pavements and from royal to rugged slums.
The Presidents of the Superpower nations are desperately seeking help from poverty-stricken country like Cuba. The wife of Canadian Prime Minister, the nation with the best health care system is breathing through ventilator machine like any commoner. The Royal Prince Charles, heir to the “Great” British throne that ruled the world is now in isolation, suffering the same Corona infection. The Prime Minister of Italy cries in public for being unable to bury the numerous dead.
The great NASA of the USA and the budding ISRO of Indian Space Research Center that boasts of conquering the planets and the stars are unable of conquer the virus. The great astronomers and rocket scientists who desperately looked for life forms in outer space have failed to look for vaccine to conquer the tiny Corona virus. Those who looked for water and moisture in Mars are unable to find the right drug to the dominant virus.
Nations piled up arms to fight the enemy are crying for money to treat their dying. Humans who wanted to settle in the Mars and colonize the outer space are in lockdown with in four walls of their homes.
The mighty men made bullet-proof vests to guard their precious body are now unable to guard their body against the minuscule virus.
We are made to realize in a hard way that ‘the mighty are only this much’. In the mighty world of great innovations, the tiny virus can be a greater killer. Here no one is greater and no one is lesser.
Those who had no time for God and prayer are made to follow worship hours streamed in media. The irony is, the Pastors and miracle workers who “healed” the sick are afraid of touching the infected. The prophets and foretellers are lacking right words to describe the magnitude of misery caused by the tiny Corona Virus. It is a test of authenticity and credibility.
Surely, Corona has shaken our lives, it has confined us, it has locked us down to our marrow. Now Corona seems to say… Man, you are man and you will always remain a man. Live for others, live for the earth, caring for it and sharing its resources for everyone to live a meaningful and fulfilling lives.
Fr. Lazar Arasu
Priest and School Administrator.
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