On Opening Up This Summer
Now that the COVID-19 crisis is rapidly subsiding due to widespread vaccinations and the increasing likelihood of herd immunity, people are returning to socializing. How refreshing it is to be with old and new friends at parties, sports events, and in church. Man is a social creature by Divine design. We are invigorated by others with whom we spend time at work, at leisure, and especially at prayer. Being together means exchanging thoughts, learning new things, and discovering new ways of understanding things we already know. It also means being inspired by those who show a friendly and generous spirit. In sharing knowledge and wisdom, we discover the possibilities for helping one other in a reciprocal fashion. We appreciate the beauty of life.
Our gratitude for this return to “almost normalcy” should not exclude taking time to pray to God in thanksgiving for all our blessings, and to entrust to Him all our sorrows. I suspect that most of us know someone who died from the coronavirus, or someone who recovered but is suffering lingering effects. The mystery of illness and death is made bearable through faith, which teaches us the reality of Heaven, where there is eternal happiness and joy in God’s loving presence.
Vacations should be a time for spiritual renewal, especially for those involved in the good (and long) fight to protect the right to life of our unborn brothers and sisters. I suggest we do a few things this summer that will draw us closer to God, such as meditating daily on the Gospels, reading good and reliable books on theology and philosophy, praying the rosary with attention, and performing small acts of charity towards our family, friends, and neighbors. I also recommend reading the lives of the saints, as their example and teaching are invariably inspiring and encouraging.
Our meditation should also include reflection on what we learned about ourselves during the yearlong lockdown. God allows difficulties for a reason. They are meant to draw us back to Him. Did our time at home make us more grateful for our blessings? Did we grow in concern for those around us? Or did we become self-centered?
For me, the COVID-19 crisis was a daily reminder of the precariousness of life on earth, and the need to think often about our heavenly destiny. Life here below is worthwhile only if there is a purpose—and a finality that reveals that purpose. God made man to live, not to die. Death entered our world through sin; Christ conquered death and sin by his cross and resurrection. As we move though this vale of tears, we rejoice in knowing the one true God, and beg his assistance in remaining faithful to Him. Often, though, we become distracted by temptation, straying from the straight and narrow way Christ himself blazed for us. A shock like COVID-19 urges us to abandon wayward paths of our own choosing and return to the sure path of holiness and life.
This summer we have the chance to resume life in a new way. God’s goodness is always right around the corner, if not waiting for us on the doorstep. Let’s make sure our return to socializing begins with the best form of socializing: spending time with Our Lord in prayer.