Normalcy among COVID-19: A fleeting Reality?

Week after week I look out from the Holy Altar yearning to see again the beautiful faces of my parishioners, but I am met with the masked reminder that we are not living in normal times. 

Day after day, I check the news and announcements from the medical world yearning for the joyful tidings of a breakthrough in the development of treatments, both preventive and therapeutic, for COVID-19, but I am met with the grim reality of more infections and more deaths. I addition, everyone is predicting that these numbers will keep rising through the colder months. 

There seems to be no respite in sight from this pandemic!

This reality settles in even further as I receive calls, texts and messages that yet one more parishioner has contracted the virus and has even been hospitalized, leaving their families concerned for their life.

These are times of tribulation, as many people are facing increased need, financially, emotionally and spiritually, while at the same time are scared for their health. And as if all this is not enough, many are also stuck at home, isolated from friends and relatives, unable to socialize as usual and even scared to come to church or receive Holy Communion.

I live with this reality daily, and I turn in prayer to God asking for His mercy, healing for those afflicted and protection for those at risk. That’s how I find comfort, assurance and hope. I think of all of you whom I have not been able to see since the shutdown and pray for God’s comfort for you. I also rejoice for those who do make it to the church services and pray that they may stay healthy.

Hope is the key to these difficult times. We need hope in order to continue our lives. We need joy in order to avoid depression and acedia, a spiritual state of inertness, listlessness and torpor.

And the Lord is the source of all hope. His promise is that He will never abandon us. “For the needy shall not be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.” (Psa. 9:18) Happiness comes to those who hope in Him. (Psa. 146:5)

Our life can be full of hope and joy even in the worst of situations, if we turn our hearts to God. Hope comes from the assurance that He will be there for us even during the most difficult of times.  Joy comes from hope in His Love and caring for us. Normalcy can be our steady dependance on Him. Normalcy can our Trust in His assurance that He will never abandon us.

Normalcy can be preserved through our routine and familiar worship services as we attend in person or participate via the live streams. The familiar hymns and music, the familiar faces of our clergy, the beautiful ambiance of our sanctuary, provide continuity and normalcy that brings comfort and hope, which leads to trust in the Lord and fills the heart with joy. 

Dear brothers and sisters, please continue to return to our worship services online or in person so that you may not lose the normalcy provided through them. Try not to miss them, as God works through them to reach our hearts and minds, to give us comfort and hope, to give us joy and happiness in His sacred Normalcy.

Fr. Panayiotis

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