During this quarantined Holy Week, I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9 where God states to His people, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways… For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
The coronavirus has swept the earth and has separated God’s people during the holiest time of year. Many are dying, disease is rampant, and social distancing has been mandated. We are in need of the Resurrection, yet it has not arrived.
This theme of suffering and failure sits not only at the climax of Salvation History but also at the foundation of everyone’s spiritual life. Pain, disease, weakness, isolation, failure, rejection, and even death have now been made central aspects of the spiritual journey this Holy Week. How can we be certain of this? It is Christ’s example, for He came into the world in the humblest form and died a slow, tortuous death.
This quarantine has been hard on everyone, myself included. I have failed many times in adjusting to my new work routine, watching the kids, homeschooling, exercising, praying, studying, and more. Yet our hope in Christ is so great that even in our failures we succeed. St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 puts it this way:
“Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak then I am strong.”
What an opportunity we have to carry our crosses, i.e coronavirus, weakness, suffering, inaccessible sacraments, etc. alongside Christ this Holy Week! I pray we can really enter into the mystery of being nailed to our cross and being made a holy and acceptable offering to God. In this way we can rise again with Christ!
I love the words of Fr. Jacques Phillippe in his book entitled Searching for and Maintaining Peace. He states, “Let us recognize that, given the way we are made, it would be dangerous for us to do only good… [for] we have a deeply rooted tendency toward pride.” It reminds me not to be too disheartened and scandalized by my own sinfulness, rather to run to God with my failures and thank Him for keeping me humbled.
Now, in the middle of what is both a worldwide crisis and the holiest time of year, may we enter more potently into the Paschal Mystery, feeling Jesus’ suffering, yet trusting fully in our Father to bring to completion His magnificent work.