The Official Newsletter of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Philippines

PANDEMIC MAGIC

           It is not surprising that up to this day since the start of it, almost everyone still talks about the 2019 N.Corona Virus. Unfortunately, we see no end to it yet, especially that confirmed positive and expired cases continue to rise and recurrence happening even in countries supposedly experiencing a curve flattening already. At this time, with people growing sick and tired of this pandemic, are we still seeing anything good in it?  

            Persons of deep faith may see this pandemic as an occasion to put their Christian virtues to test, to action. What are these virtues? Allow me to share some excerpts I got from the Catechism of the Catholic Church about virtues. I’d like to quote this part – “A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good, not only to perform good acts but to give the best of himself towards the good, with all his sensory and spiritual powers; pursuing the good and chooses it in concrete actions.” Now what virtues do Christians turn to as guide to living? How are these being tested by the current pandemic?

            In the Catholic Church, there are three categories of virtues which we all should be praying to have more of – cardinal, theological, and capital. Prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance comprise the cardinal virtues while faith, hope, and charity fall under theological virtues. The capital virtues are those that overcome the seven deadly sins of lust, greed, gluttony, envy, anger, pride, and sloth. But not to be too academic about what these virtues are, let me just pick on a few for purposes of example. One is the virtue of charity which is defined as the voluntary giving of help to those in need. In this time of great hardship with people losing their sources of livelihood, with our stored supplies running out, can we still afford to share what we have? Heartily? Another is temperance or voluntary self-restraint. “This includes restraint from revenge by practicing forgiveness, restraint from arrogance by practicing humility and modesty, restraint from excesses such as extravagant luxury or splurging by practicing prudence, and restraint from rage by practicing calmness and self-control.” What has become rampant nowadays? We see on social media so many hate messages, disrespectful remarks, personal attacks and magnified biased judgments among others. Freedom of expression gone haywire. As final example, how about faith? If indeed we believe that God is in control, that He has a purpose for everything which is never to harm but to prosper us, this global nightmare should hit us to be a test on how real and deep our trust is in Him, how sincere are we in saying “Thy Will Be Done”, how true are we in our claim to be Christians.

            The situation is indeed severe. The global impact is scary. But if this whole thing drives people to turn to God and trust in Him alone, seeing equality in the fact that the virus chooses not between the rich or poor, realizing the many things that we can live without but which has kept us too busy to pray, and in worst cases tame our “fighting spirits” into “peaceful acceptance”, we can say that this has been well planned. Given the grave effects it has caused humanity, if the virus brought out good Christian values instead and totally changed our mindset about life and things for the better, that is grace, a blessing in disguise. What took years and years of preaching and coaching that we all learned in just a few months and on a global scale, that is magic, performed by the Lord of Majesty Himself… God.

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