The past week of Lent penance is the first after three years of the Covid-19 pandemic that we, the Catholic faithful in particular, were able to pause for a moment without restrictions to remember Jesus Christ’s sufferings and His gift of life for humankind when He carried our sins on His shoulders and made the supreme sacrifice on the cross.
Although we expected most of us took advantage of this annual break getting on the road to take a vacation or pursue our travel goals, we hope we did not forget to take time as well to reflect and be grateful that we have survived a global ordeal, and could now afford to do the usual activities as before, which the pandemic denied us for more than two years due to restrictions and strict health protocols.
At the height of the pandemic, our prayers had been for protection and deliverance from the Covid-19 and for divine intervention so that those working to beat the virus by coming up with cure or something that would make us immune to infection will be guided in their studies. We prayed as well for the health workers and leaders that they will be protected while being exposed and to come up with sound interventions while battling an unfamiliar disease.
Basically then, everyone had been asking hard they may be spared from infection or be able to overcome the grief of losing a family member to the disease, which we thought then as unthinkable since we did not imagine an unseen, vicious enemy could devastate with the magnitude Covid-19 caused.
Now that we are back to normal and are alive when millions are no longer with us to see how we are able to live as we used to even with the Covid-19 in our midst, we hope before we reclaimed our usual routines, we first took time this Lenten season to thank the Supreme Being for the gift of life and graces during one of the most difficult periods of our lives.
The “Litany of Gratitude after the Covid-19” released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is right to the point and ought to provide us a renewed will to survive as we take on challenges that may still come our way. Let us give thanks for having the chance to be reminded that life is fragile and we have someone to shield us, and to open our minds to what is essential when tackling the darkest times.
Let us also consider it a blessing that we have been allowed “to connect with one another despite the isolation that sickness had imposed on us, as well as the heroic kindness of who provided us with scientific, social, and spiritual help when doing so was risky and life-threatening for them” and among others, for “the gift of assuring presence, when we were anxious and distressed, and lonely and impatient during the pandemic.”
More importantly, as we welcome the risen Jesus Christ on Easter, it is our hope we also stopped to think how to improve ourselves individually and as a nation using our experiences and granted chances as lessons to learn from, not only from the pandemic but from any challenge that we are and will still be facing. If we have observed, the fast-paced world that we had been preparing for and welcomed as a sign of progress is already here, and depending on our choice, it may bring the best or worst in us.
As we seek for divine guidance in all our undertakings, May this Easter Sunday and beyond bring us – the government and the citizens – renewed hope and commitment to work together so that we can be survivors and even more resilient while at the same time a blessing for each other in weathering other challenges we may have to meet in the future.