Dear Mercy friends,
It has been about a month since Covid-19 was determined to be a pandemic. Honestly, I had to look up the meaning of pandemic. I knew what an epidemic was but wasn’t exactly sure what pandemic meant. Now I know. It is a disease that is prevalent over the whole country or world. This is scary!
When I first heard that, I couldn’t help but think about a book I read many years ago in college, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I’m sure many of you have read it. I can’t say that I remember too much about it. But what has always stuck with me are the famous opening lines of this novel on the French Revolution: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…"
It is easy to look at these times as the Worst of Times. We have to shelter in place. We can’t go to work. We can’t pay our bills. We can’t go shopping at our favorite stores. We can’t go to a movie. We can’t go out to eat. We can’t see our friends. Students and teachers can’t go to school and on and on. And every day on the news we see the horrors of this pandemic. We hear how many more deaths occurred in the last 24 hours and how many more cases of Covid-19 there are in the United States and the world. We hear that we don’t have ample supplies, hospital rooms, or health personnel. We hear Governors of many states begging for help.
But what I see happening is perhaps the Best of Times. This pandemic has brought out the very best in people. I see people praying. I see people helping their neighbors by shopping for groceries, calling them to see if they are okay or to see if they need anything. We see doctors, nurses, first responders and other health personnel working tirelessly to take care of their patients. We see retired doctors and nurses coming out of retirement to tend to the sick. We hear stories on the evening news of the good Samaritans who are doing extraordinary things to help others. Yes, these are the Best of Times. This is a time when we all can reach out to others especially the most vulnerable. What an opportunity we have been given! We can do this! We are Mercy!
I will close with this prayer sent to me by a friend.
A Prayer for Our Uncertain Times
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those who are vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
And during this time when we may not be able to physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
“Let us pray well and never get weary of doing what is good.” Mother Catherine McAuley.