The How and the Why

04-26-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Two of the questions that most of us are asking viz-a-viz the Pandemic are How and Why? The How is no doubt the easier of the two. How did this start? Was it accidentally done on purpose? How is it our Public Health Systems both domestically and internationally were slow at picking up on the veracity of the virus? How was it that the domestic system didn't have the inventory needed? There may be good answers to these questions and it is important they be answered so we can improve from here on out. And let’s face it nobody really living in 2020 thought a Pandemic of medieval magnitude was possible. And yet it was.

One of the best insights I’ve read about the current Pandemic is that at the onset of a Pandemic the restrictions and preventive measures seem excessive, authoritarian and even panicky. But after a Pandemic those same restrictions will seem to have been inadequate. With 20/20 hindsight will come the blame game. Be careful not to get sucked into the blame game. Finding answers to the How is important not so much to assign blame but to learn from our missteps and mistakes. One of the sourest tasting aspects of the virus has been the politicization of the Pandemic. But as I wrote previously whenever there is a free-for-all there are those who will take advantage. Never let a crisis go to waste seems to be the modus operandi for some.

As we prepare to “re-open” society it is very important to remember that the Shut-down was designed to slow down the spread of the virus so that the Health Care system would not become overwhelmed. And slow down does not mean stop. Therefore, after restrictions are relaxed many people will continue to get the virus, hopefully get well and our Health Care system will be able to handle the numbers of sick persons.

The Shut-down, Phase I, II, and III reopening are all about risk reduction not risk elimination. Which means everyone will have to decide for themselves how much risk is acceptable. Once things like larger gatherings are permitted each person has to decide based on their individual risk factors whether to participate or not. You may be a vulnerable person or you may live with a vulnerable person and therefore you may decide to take greater precautions than are required. That’s important to start to think about as restrictions are eased including Church and School attendance. We do have plans for when we can reopen and obviously will be subject to modification as we move forward.

Now to the question of the Why? I would not be so brash as to try to divine the mind of God. But I do know as a general principle, demonstrated throughout the Bible and Church History, that God can and does use the events and circumstances of our lives and the historical realities of the world to bring us closer to himself. Think of it more of a side effect than an intention. On an individual level our circumstances often reveal our character. While on a historical level circumstances often reveal the moral rot of a society or its solid foundation.

Think of St. Peter. The arrest and crucifixion of Jesus revealed that this big tough fisherman, who swore up and down to Jesus that he would give his life for him, was actually filled with cowardice. Peter ran away to save his life. But after the Resurrection, he was given the opportunity to give his life away. So maybe some of the character defects in yourself have come to light in a big way during this Pandemic. But no worry you still have the opportunity to return to virtue. That can be a big lesson and a life changing event for you. The Pandemic has also brought to light the struggle that some have holding family life together in a society that pulls families apart. If that’s you, then be grateful for a new awakening of your family life and time spent together.

Similarly, after the Resurrection the corruption of the Temple system and its complicity with the Romans was revealed and would collapse once and for all. So too for us, on the societal level much is being revealed as well. But I will save that for another time. I promise it will be juicy.

No doubt more will be revealed to us post Pandemic both as individuals and as society. For now, take inventory of what has been revealed to you in your life and may it be that through Jesus, the Father may be revealed in you in a new and life changing way.

Love,

Fr. John B.

PS Thanks for supporting us via Live Stream, thanks for your patience while we hammered out the technology, and for all your suggestions which help us improve and all the gratitude you send our way. My deepest thanks for your continued Stewardship of your Parish.

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