Corona Moment to Reclaim Spiritual Space

May 2, 2020

Two weeks ago, we all went to sleep in one world and woke up to see another world. A world none of us had imagined in our wildest dreams, a world which made us prisoners in our own homes. A world which put a sudden stop to our travels and gatherings, to our prayers and celebrations, to our materialistic pleasures, to our mad rat race. This new world compelled us to press the pause button on many of what we thought were our important and urgent programmes, deadlines to be met, targets to be achieved, profits to be gained, peaks to be conquered. This new world has invited us to try to make sense of the world and what we have made of it. From a world where we had to work to stay alive, we came to a world where we had to stop work to stay alive!

COVID-19 has become a watershed in our lives. Perhaps in the future, BC will no longer mean Before Christ but will mean Before Covid! While we wait and pray for life to come back to normal, it is time to introspect if and whether there is going to be ‘normal’ life ever. There is going to be a new normal. This new normal is going to make our world a different and hopefully a better place than it is today. This is a lifetime experience for mankind. Things have changed in a matter of days and weeks! At one level there is a terrifying emptiness all around while at another level a sense of tranquillity can be seen and felt in nature.

The significant moment of emptiness the world witnessed was when Pope Francis delivered a blessing in an empty St Peter’s square on March 28. It is empty because a virus the size of a nanometer has taken over our families, our neighbourhood, our streets, our places of worship, our important and urgent jobs, our hospitals and places of social gatherings and isolated us completely and occupied our common spaces without any geographical and religious discriminations. True, this virus has made our world a world without walls. This virus has no boundaries. No discriminations between the rich and the poor, the big and the small, the developed and the underdeveloped, the leader and the led. We have all been brought down to one common denominator. The world is in the same boat.

While on the one hand, we are battling with anxiety, uncertainty, fear and despair on the other hand, there is tranquillity all around us too because this coronavirus has forced us to make the much needed inward journey and discover ourselves. As human movements are limited, the mad rat race for achieving targets and meeting deadlines has come to a standstill. We are seeing the result of the slow down already and have started appreciating the finer nuances of life. We are now stopping to smell the roses, we can wake up with joy to hear the birds chirping, we can gaze at the clear blue sky, devoid of dark clouds of pollution and smell the fragrance of the first drops of rain falling on the earth. Indeed, life is not measured by the number of breaths that you take but by the moments that take your breath away!

Most people are at home with their families and hence family life has become an essential lifeline for many. We have turned our homes into a place for worship, we are back to the nature for farming and gardening, our culinary skills are activated and we are enjoying homemade fresh food and finally, we have time for ourselves and for our children. We have started appreciating family values, traditions and the simpler things in life. The attitude of more is less has turned to less is more.

Sadly, amidst all this beauty around us, there is some pain too. Like the thorn that accompanies the beautiful rose, domestic violence has become another crisis during COVID-19, and we need to keep the victims of such violence in our daily prayers.

The media is bringing to our notice some incredible moments in nature. The snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain range, part of the Himalayan range in Himachal Pradesh, became visible in Jalandhar, almost 200 km away, after pollution levels dipped across Punjab. Jalandhar residents had an incredible view of the majestic Himalayas with their naked eye. Palki Sharma, WION news anchor reports, “Since human beings are retreating into their homes, nature has started reclaiming its space.” Almost a four-minute video is worth watching ( She ends her show saying, “Coronavirus is teaching us a simple lesson, learn to co-exist or nature will find extreme ways to reclaim its space. Think about it!” This self-isolating moment is teaching us a profound lesson. Mother earth does not require political promises to heal herself, she has her healing power. One of the news portals puts it, “The work that the various governments could not accomplish for decades, this lockdown has done within 10 days.” The water bodies; river Yamuna and Ganga, have become cleaner due to industrial shutdown.

One of our problems today is that we are interested in the news of the day and the problems of the hour. Since we are obsessed with the idea of being problem solvers, we no longer listen to those who speak about eternal values that have nothing to do with our day to day lives. We have inherited a world that has lost all real sense of time and our common complaint is that we have no time. We have no time for ourselves, for our people, for Holy Scriptures and to be in harmony with nature. And this legacy we leave for the next generation without rooting them to the eternal truths and values that exist in each culture, tradition and religion. It is like a tree growing without roots. A tree without roots is not a healthy tree. These roots are not picked up in a day from books but it is a way of being and life led by the spirit. COVID-19 is a moment of anguish and anxiety and you can resolve this feeling only through your inner resources. An answer can never be given, you can only find. To find, you listen, listen to the words of the Holy Scripture, listen to the stories of great sages and listen to the words of wise and holy people. Stories are not answers but they convey the mystery and the miracle – the adventure – of being alive.

When we are connected to our lifeline we can lead our life by the spirit, not by our obsessions. Such a life can be considered as truly lived in contrast to a life centred in material reality. Material possessions are not bad by themselves, but material realities that we possess tend also to possess us. The more we have, the more we want, and the more we want, the more we are possessed by our possessions. Material realities tend to stunt spirituality because as we possess them, they possess us. Possessions can lead to obsessions and obsessions with possessions crowd out the spiritual. At this juncture, when the material lifelines of our living have come to a grinding halt, the self-isolated environment is inviting us to take up the inward journey. Due to rapid advancement in our lifestyle, most of us are cut off from communicating with our Life-Giver. In our daily conversation, we have replaced spiritual vocabulary with digital forms of communication. As some prophets announce the dawn of doomsday we are left with no concepts to articulate our inner longings. Though spiritual concepts are the same for every human being we classify and associate them with a particular religion. In situations like a pandemic, which go beyond geographical and religious boundaries, as humans, we must find some spiritual basis for living.

In this testing time, this is an opportunity for us to distinguish between religion and spirituality. Religion creates boundaries, whereas spirituality has no boundaries just like the fragrance of a rose. Religion is insistent on certain religious practices, thereupon, protects people against a direct relationship with God. Religious practices are only the means but the true devotee is you. The spiritual connection is between you and Him.

Today, the world is eerily silent. No sounds of shouting, screaming, horns blaring, sirens hooting, machines churning, no cries of pain and fear, no heated arguments, no criticisms, no blame games. Let us pause to listen in this deafening silence to what our heart says, let us listen to the whisper of our conscience. We may not be able to move out of our homes so let us take this opportunity to travel inwards, to rediscover ourselves, to search for the Almighty who lives in us, to connect with the Holy Spirit that resides within each one of us.

While common community worship places are under lockdown, our homes have become a place of worship. The family that prays together stays together. People are discovering their spirituality and this environment has broken the boundary of ‘us’ against ‘them’. Coronavirus has initiated the process of reconciliation. Today humanity is at its best and we are reaching out to our needy brothers and sisters. This gives us hope. We are at the opportune moment, to focus on the essence of life, to discover inside of us.

We are miserable now, let this misery help us see meaning in the lives of others. When all this is over we shall step out of our homes into a new world. Remember, we have within us the power to make this new world a paradise. Let us find joy in giving rather than in receiving, in forgiving rather than in avenging, consoling rather than seeking solace. Let us seek the Almighty within us and in each other rather than look for him in places of worship and Holy Books.



By Fr Jerome Sequeira SJ
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Comment on this article

  • Fr Richard Mascarenhas SJ, Puttur/Dharwad

    Mon, May 04 2020

    Hi . . . Fr Jerry, Congratulations to you. It is a well written article. It is once again coming out with great hope for a new beginning. Of course this new beginning will be realized with our giving, sharing, consoling and forgiving one another. Kudos to you Fr Jerry.

  • Dan M, Dubai / Mangalore

    Sat, May 02 2020

    God The Father on this evil virus...

    May 1, 2020

    Once again, I (Maureen) see a Great Flame that I have come to know as the Heart of God the Father. He says: "Today, I invite you to realize that this virus - the coronavirus - is no ordinary disease. It has been created from human ingenuity to specifically target the elderly and physically challenged. This is the plan of future generations to purify the human race around the world. It was released into the general population ahead of schedule - by accident. Those in charge were waiting for less capable government officials in your country* to be in office. Nevertheless, proposed harm is being unleashed on the whole human race."

    "I tell you these things to help you to realize the underlying evil at work and hidden in hearts these days. You cannot be confounded by any turn of events. Over all situations, I am in Dominion. No one will be given power over you that is more powerful than your Eternal Father. Therefore, be emboldened with this knowledge. If you persevere in Truth, you have loaded your weapons against what seems to be and discharged them with Truth."

    Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5+

    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.

    * U.S.A.

    *** The Messages of Holy and Divine Love at Maranatha Spring and Shrine.

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