by Ken Rolheiser
The Blessings of Covid-19

Covid-19 has given me time and inspiration as a writer. Book five, HEAVEN BOUND AMID PANDEMICS The Road All Runners Come is about to launch on Amazon Kindle and print by demand. (Announcements pending). Book six is well under way.

Before we look at many of the positive spin-offs of Covid-19, let me share a few of the lighter side effects of the pandemic that hopefully continues to recede into oblivion.

New definitions: A mask is a coughy filter. Old expressions have new meaning: I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole! Why don’t ants get covid? Because they have tiny little antybodies.

Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms. Favorite movie playing everywhere – Home Alone. Now is not the time to surround yourself with positive people.

New realizations: I won’t stand on the X at Walmart. I’ve seen too many Bugs Bunny Road Runner episodes to know how that turns out. 

We can make a quick list of some of the positives that have emerged in the pandemic experience. We can exercise outdoors more. We have learned to Zoom. We face time with our families and catch up on our phone calls. We can enjoy daily journaling and time to count our blessings. 

Working at home brought many families closer; parents and children share quality time, sometimes in home-schooling. Even prayer time has changed. We have had to meet God in our homes instead of only at church on Sundays. You know this is from the Holy Spirit because a huge number of people rediscovered Scripture during the pandemic.

St. Augustine said God “would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself,” and from the suffering, death, isolation, and unemployment the pandemic brought, it seems he has outdone himself.

Covid-19 has brought a huge boost of faith for many. Nearly three in ten U.S. adults have said that the pandemic has strengthened their faith, and four in ten say that it has strengthened family bonds. (Pew Research, January 2021).

Virtual services happened. “I was exposed to many wonderful homilists whom I never would have had the chance to hear otherwise. Many people then benefited from what under normal circumstances would be a small regional priest with a localized flock.” (Carolyn Smith).

One of the greatest blessing of the Covid Pandemic experience is that we all got to share in suffering and God’s salvation plan. It would be well to remember that “Pain and suffering do not have the final say over human existence. Instead, they become a means by which God redeems souls who, through prayer, follow the footsteps of the crucified.” (“COVID-19 and the Spiritual Life”, Dale M. Coulter, 4.14.20).

During the Black Death of the fourteenth century the Franciscans saw, in the crucified Christ, God’s entering into the suffering of humanity in order to redeem mankind. In this re-ordering of spirituality Medieval mystic Julian of Norwich claimed that Christ’s emaciated and bloody body “resembled our foul, black death, which our fair, bright, blessed Lord bore for our sins.” 

American theologian Bernard McGinn described this fourteenth century spiritual growth as a flowering mysticism. This description is perhaps best applied to our pandemic experience. People are praying more. “We are enjoying the slower pace and the opportunity to be together more,” wrote one mother.
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