Archbishop Abel Gabuza: The Glass is Half-Full!
The Covid-19 pandemic is a dark cloud in our lives. A global crisis of immense proportions has been created by the pandemic.
We have been forced to stop and take a long pause in our normal activities. Our spaces of education, business, sports and other social activities have been put on hold. Our way of visiting the sick, our way of coming together to worship, has taken a serious dent.
When we have to bury our loved ones, we are being rushed for our dead to be put away, without us doing proper closure. We are experiencing a painful and soul-searching moment in our lives. We can feel the abject helplessness in our veins.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a test of our faith, hope and love. We can be dominated by paralysis, fear and despair. It can be difficult to have any positive attitudes about the future.
As members of the Body of Christ, it is imperative that we remind ourselves of the virtues of hope, faith and charity. As we respond to the crisis, we are to let go of being cynical and giving up. A situation of helplessness and despair can convince us that our situation is like a half-empty glass.
Lately we have been reading about the prophet Jeremiah. The life of Jeremiah was infused with courage and faith. Indeed, he wept when he saw destruction, suffering, numbness and sin around his people. He did not give in to hopelessness. He had faith in God.
Our situation may have given birth to many cynics. There are voices that are loud and they keep saying that we are being punished by God. God has had enough of our wickedness, and now we deserve punishment. The reality is that we will always have prophets of doom in our midst.
In this crisis, God is with us
What we need to state is that God is in this situation with us. God is not distant and far away. God is enmeshed with us in our human situation.
We believe and hold that at the heart of our identity and mission as members of the Body of Christ is the Incarnation.
The call for us today in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic is to continue the journey of staying spiritually healthy. As people of faith we are presented with challenges we cannot ignore. It can be easy to be swallowed by hopelessness and despair. This crisis is a particular prophetic moment in our lives. It calls us to remain strong, steadfast in our faith, love and hope.
One of the ten counsels given by Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI is the importance to “have a contemplative practice each day that includes prayer”.
He maintains that the way to survive and thrive in this situation of Covid-19 is to be creative with all the time we have in order to free ourselves from being bored, frustrated and paralysed.
This pandemic has taught us to redefine who we are as followers of Christ. I find the following message from the book of Joshua more relevant and more real than ever before. Joshua was assured by God: “Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
This calls us to be rooted in prayer. I think prayer affords us the opportunity to be planted in deeper ground. Prayer helps us to be people of hope. It matters greatly to have hope. We cannot live without hope.
Let your half-full cup be the source of your strength, because it is not empty, but half-full. We need to keep hope alive, we have no choice. We must be people of hope.
As we wake up, let us see each new day as a gift. Let us face each day with courage and hope. n Archbishop Gabuza is the coadjutor archbishop of Durban.
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