Specter of Pandemic
March 09, 2020
Filed In: Faith
In late December and early January, the Wuhan virus was a distant trouble. It was an outbreak isolated to a province of China that few of us had ever heard of. As the virus crosses borders and continues to spread, we can now see the clouds forming on our own horizon. No longer is this a problem for people we’ve never met; it’s rapidly approaching our own communities.
I, like most people, have been giving this idea of a global pandemic quite a bit of thought. Covid-19, this new coronavirus, is rather mild. It’s less deadly than other recent outbreaks, such as SARS and Ebola. For many people, they have a mild course and recover. So why is this outbreak so frightening and disruptive?
On the one hand, it’s because we’re defenseless. Modern medicine can provide supportive care, but as of now, it can’t stop it. Vaccines are in development and, hopefully by this time next year, we’ll have one. For right now, all we can do is sit by and watch.
Covid-19 also inspires fear because we still don’t understand it. It’s totally new, and while we understand some of its cousin viruses, we don’t fully understand how this one spreads. Until we do, stopping it will be a major challenge.
All of this brings me back to two thoughts. First, we are called to care about those suffering around the world. If we ourselves cannot go and minister to them, then we must commit our resources to support those who can. Giving to missionary societies or Catholic Relief Services shoudn’t only be done during Lent and at the end of the year. Our help is needed daily. Second, this is a perfect reminder of the theological virtue of hope. Hope is the belief that God will do all that He has promised. Trying closely into the virtue of hope is the necessity to place our trust in God. God is our provider and He alone sustains us.
These are challenging times, and while there is hope that we will soon have a handle on this pandemic, its effects are likely to be felt in the months to come. In this season of Lent and this time of uncertainty we have the perfect reminder to place our trust in a God who loves and cares for us.