The world feels like a very different place than when I left Assumption on the Friday before March Break. In some ways, the differences are obvious – moving on on-line grocery shopping, not heading back to the school after March Break, attending Sunday Mass via a facebook live stream, not being able to invite friends over for dinner.
In other ways, the differences are more subtle – seeing more friends post pictures of their families doing puzzles and making dinner together instead of sports tournament results and dance recital videos. More phone calls from people instead of text messages.
This pandemic, and efforts we are being asked to make to help slow it down, has really highlighted for me a few of things about community.
First, that human beings truly are made to live in community with others. The creativity I have seen in people reaching out to help others, to connect, to celebrate milestones, all while maintaining the physical distancing recommended by health officials, has been inspirational.
Second, there is much about our communities and its members that we take for granted on a daily basis, whether that be access to basic goods and services, participation in recreational activities, or the very people whom many may look upon as ‘low skilled’ workers who we now recognize as being essential to the function and safety of our society. I pray that even in stressful times, we can recognize the many privileges we have in our lives, and show respect and gratitude to every worker, no matter what their labour entails.
Lastly, our current circumstances have highlighted for me that we each have a choice in how we see ourselves and choose to act within our community. Will I see myself as someone who is connected to others, even people I don’t know personally? Will I make choices based on the common good of all people in my community? Will I act with kindness and generosity to those who are vulnerable and in need? Stories of hoarding, and of individuals ignoring the rules of social distancing are examples of those who do not see themselves as part of a larger whole. On the other hand, stories of retaurants that have had to shut their doors donating food to shelters and food banks, caremongering groups filled with strangers helping strangers get essential items, landlords giving their tenants who may be out of work at the moment a break on their rent, children writing cheerful notes in chalk on their sidewalks – these are all examples of people who recognize our interconnectedness, who put the good of the whole before themselves. As Saint Paul reminds us, when one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. (1 Cor. 12:26)
We are made in the image and likeness of God, who exists as the Trinity- one God in three Persons, a community of the Divine. As Christians we are called to reflect God in our personal and communal lives. We are called to love our neighbour, even our unknown neighbours, as ourselves.
“Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure:
Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.
Which, by the way, is something highly inadvisable. Think about it — do you really want to live in a world of only two dimensions?
So, for the love of a triangle, please keep love whole.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
May God bless us and keep us safe and healthy, inspiring us to care for one another in challenging times. Here’s a message from some of the young members of Mary Mother of God Church in Oakville:
Tomorrow’s post: Self Care & Mental Wellness Resources