Black clouds signify dark and even stormy times are coming. But at the edge of the dark clouds one can see a silver lining which show that not everything is black and behind the darkness there is the sun shining. The darkness will pass away and the brightness of light will come back again.

The COVID 19 brings a lot of darkness and uncertainties. It has really put our lives topsy-turvy. It has affected our work, our income, our leisure, our travels, our routine and even our religious activities. And we do not know up to when and up to what extent! But we have to see that no reality is totally bad. No matter how dark, some brightness is also brought out. Looking at the silver lining can give us hope and it can help us live through the darkness until the light comes out. And light will come out! As the Good Book says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn. 1:5) Let us see the light that shines in the darkness of the global pandemic.

The COVID 19 phenomenon has brought about lockdowns and quarantines. Many people are immobilized physically. It has reduced the pace of our lives. So now we do not have to run from one place to another or be lost in traffic. We can take time easily – and in our homes together with our loved ones. We can do things in the house which we had long wanted but had no time or energy for them. Some can cook once more; others can do some cleaning and washing. We can put our homes and our rooms in order. One can do gardening. We can play and pray together again as a family or as neighbors. We can take time to tell stories to one another and watch TV or movies together. We can pick up the book that we had long wanted to read, or play a musical instrument. There are a lot of things that we can do without much cost.

Lent has originally been a 40-day retreat for the whole Christian people. COVID 19 is forcing us, as a people, to slow down a bit and take our retreat in our homes. Let us heed the call of St. Anselm who lived more than a thousand years ago: “Insignificant man, escape from your everyday business for a short while, hide for a moment from your restless thoughts. Break off from your cares and troubles and be less concerned about your tasks and labors. Make a little time for God and rest a while in him.” Let us take time to think, to pray, to read the Bible. Let us consider how really insignificant our human existence is. With all our technological achievements, a virus can bring the whole world to a halt and erase billions of financial wealth and together with it our human hubris. And it affects all – rich and poor alike!

Perhaps this virus outbreak can be telling us: look, go back to the basics – to your basic human relationships with your families and neighbors, to your basic needs, to your connection with God, the Power that you thought you can ignore but ultimately is the one you can hang on too. His love is everlasting. He is the Rock of our Salvation.

This contagion can also be pointing us to another direction – to one another. We need one another. We need the cooperation of all so that the infection will not spread. Let us not only be afraid that we get infected. Let us be careful that we do not cause the virus to spread to others, especially to our loved ones. While we are concerned about our own safety and our needs, let us also open our eyes to the needs of others, especially the most vulnerable ones – the elderly, the sick and the poor. The daily wage earners who will not have work for a whole month is also a great concern. Let us be generous to them. It would be ridiculous to pray that we be cared for by God when we do not care for others.

May these important messages of COVID 19 be paid attention to by all. Nothing is totally useless – not even this pandemic! There is always a silver lining!

Broderick Pabillo
March 14, 2020