December 5, 2023

For the past days, I had been receiving messages from frontliners through SMS, Messenger, phone calls, and even letters.
Here is the common sentiment, “We are exhausted and even angered by the complaints, rude, and hostile comments of people.” It means therefore the need for spiritual and psychological debriefing.
Frontliners especially the doctors, nurses, health workers, and social workers are requesting for spiritual retreat to help in the debriefing. It simply means our frontliners are deeply wounded. They are sacrificing and risking their lives from an unseen enemy and yet fellowmen who are expected to be collaborators are turning enemies too.
I believe that being proactive and productive will keep the work efficient and the spirit moving on. That is positivity. I believe that looking at the positive sides of life will really make life more meaningful. Being kind to those unkind is another picture of positivity. Praying for the conversion of rude people is a noble act of kindness.
Let us deepen our reflection this Sunday from last Sunday’s gospel reading.
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than this.” (Mark 12:28-30)
Loving a friend is easy. Loving a good neighbor who reciprocates is easier. But loving our enemy is difficult and loving those who deeply transgressed us is most difficult.
Forgiveness is one of the best expressions of love but is the most difficult thing to do. We forgive because somebody is transgressed. We forgive because we want to heal. We forgive because we simply love.
We choose to love by choosing to live in the light of God’s commandments. We choose to love when we choose to forgive. In the eyes of Jesus, we will not lose anything by forgiving. We may be losers by forgiving but we are winners in the next life. Loving God must be incarnated. It must be seen in our daily life. We need the Holy Spirit to help us forgive.
The quarantine and lockdown days have both advantages and disadvantages.
People started to discover their talents like singing, landscaping, cooking, painting, writing, dancing, and many more talents. Because people were forced to stay home, the environment is clean. Pollution was curbed. Drunkards are no longer seen along the streets, which translate to tranquility in the communities.
The domestic church was also realized during the quarantine days. Domestic church means the family. The congregational celebration of the Holy Eucharist was prohibited by the guideline to prevent the virus. Nevertheless, it led the family to realize its important role as a domestic church. Pope Francis mentioned clearly that the church is not stopped from her services because the family as a church is doing her role during the quarantine. The obvious good in the domestic church is the bonding of families praying more and quality time to share about faith and life.
Reflections on powerlessness, nothingness, and impermanence surfaced too that challenged the cultures of materialism, graft, corruption, and greed.
The lockdown also has a downside. Mental health was put at stake. Anxiety and depression are “viruses” that disturb most especially the youth. Boredom happens in a vacuum to mean the absence of creativity, resourcefulness, and activity.
Sexual molestation among family members is also a bad reality amidst the pandemic. Children were being sexually abused. Rape cases are real.
Conflicts and quarrels over relief goods and financial amelioration caused turmoil among neighbors.
The battle is not only about the Covid-19. It is not only about physical health. It is a spiritual, psychological, and mental battle.
The frontliners were stressed and deeply traumatized by judgmental and insensitive people.
There is a need for debriefing. Since, the person’s integrity is affected, there is a need for psychological and emotional and spiritual debriefing. It starts from accepting the reality that the world is not perfect and there are no perfect people.
Second, we need to accept that we are human beings who cannot heal solely from human intervention, we need God. He is the greatest doctor. Our fight is not only physical but also a spiritual battle, His prescription will surely be first and foremost, forgiveness. We forgive ourselves. We forgive those who transgressed us. If we take in forgiveness daily, we heal everyday and we spread love to diminish hatred. That is a daily debriefing to restore our integrity. Reach me at [email protected] or at 0905-165-3669.