Sister Marie Lorraine Bruno, I.H.M.

This month of March we think about the past year of COVID with all its dangers and the havoc it has brought to our lives, and I try to understand what God is telling us. I believe there is a message that should give us hope.

My first consideration is a definition of pandemic: I turned to Miriam-Webster. As an adjective, a pandemic is an “occurrence over a wide geographic area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affecting a significant proportion of its population;” as a noun it is “an outbreak … of sudden rapid growth or development.” This we know from experience.

Our present world is changing rapidly. We tend to live in isolation. COVID is contagious so no longer do we shake hands. Indeed, as a Francophile I have read that the French are beginning to forego the bise, the kiss given on the cheeks, sometimes multiple times depending upon the degree of friendship!

We keep a six-foot distance from others in stores, classrooms, workplaces, restaurants and sometimes with plastic shields! We no longer have large gatherings. Weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations are now held virtually.

There are so many changes in our daily lives, too numerous for a listing here. And these changes will probably remain whenever the pandemic has run its course.

Has the pandemic brought positive considerations? Yes! Pope Francis reminds us that “fraternity is more durable than fratricide.”

I look to Scripture. So often Jesus said: “Be not afraid. I am with you.” I turn to my neighbor and embrace him or her. Together, with Jesus, my neighbor and I, we can face the future. I turn to prayer knowing it is efficacious.

It is to St. Joseph that I pray. Why? Because he too faced a pandemic — Herod who was scourging the city. To protect Jesus and Mary he fled with them to safety. I ask him to protect us and help us to be hope-filled. For COVID, too, shall pass.

Guardian of the Child Jesus, guard us. As you protected him, protect us and guide us so that we will live holy lives.

***

Sister Marie Lorraine Bruno, I.H.M., is professor emerita in the Department of Art, Languages and Literature at Immaculata University.