Home Catechetical Corner Through the pandemic, God endures; our faith should, too

Through the pandemic, God endures; our faith should, too

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People walk on a beach in Rio de Janeiro June 2, 2020, the first day of beaches reopening -- for sports only -- after the country relaxed restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Pilar Olivares, Reuters)

A pandemic can be rough on your faith. I hope you laughed at my “stating the obvious.” We are all finding new rhythms and new ways to live this “new normal.”

Weekly Mass was my stronghold for renewing my faith each week. Unless I am one of the lucky few to get a reservation for in-person service on Sunday, Mass is still mostly online now.

Shemaiah Gonzalez is a freelance writer. (CNS photo/Shemaiah Gonzalez)

Some weeks I lose my footing. On those days when I feel lost, my husband can see it. While pouring the morning coffee he’ll say nonchalantly, “You’re the same person you were in February, you know.” We laugh. He’s right.

And the implication is even more powerful — God is still the same.

I read at a friend’s wedding years ago. I was young and silly and upset that the other reader had all the long sections. I merely repeated a short refrain over and over again. Today I am grateful for that refrain that rings in my ears during this time of spiritual disconnect: “His love endures forever.”

This is true.

St. Paul wanted to remind Christians of this love in his Letter to the Romans. The community had been exiled from the city for eight long years by the Emperor Claudius. They were a hurting people, just returning to their old lives in Rome.

St. Paul wrote them, “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).

Poet Kim Garcia reimagines this Scripture for our times as not “elections, disasters natural or unnatural” can keep us from the love of God. During this time of desolation, I focus on looking for God’s love to replenish my soul.

Here are some connecting points throughout the week where you might find God’s love waiting for you.

• The Our Father: Each time you pray you will be surprised by which words stick out for you. Somedays it’s “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and I am reminded that God is in charge.

Somedays it’s “Give us this day our daily bread,” and I am reminded that all I have is today, I need not worry about the future. Somedays it is “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and I realize I have an apology to make.

• Zoom prayers: I have been meeting with some girlfriends over Zoom for a weekly 30-minute prayer. We start by sitting in silent prayer for a few minutes. It is powerful to share silence together.

We then take turns in a brief check-in and sharing something that is gives us hope: a prayer, poem or song. We don’t comment or respond between each sharing, just hold the words as a gift. The connection has been comforting as I know these women are praying for me, as I am for them, during the week.

• Walks: Each day I walk the same route at the same time. It has occurred to me that this walking has become prayer itself. Yes, sometimes I am working things out in my head with God, but often I am just open to see what beautiful things he’d like to show me; flowers, a lovely garden, birds or sidewalk chalk drawings from a child.

I wave and make small talk with other walkers I encounter that have the same routine. I recently realized; God has brought me a sense of community through these connections.

• Daily readings: I read these Scriptures expectantly, hoping that God will reveal something to me. I find he often does. I am encouraged to read the stories of those who have prevailed during tough times and feel God comforting me through his words. When I read them aloud, I sense Christ, the word, present.

Gonzalez is a freelance writer. Her website is www.shemaiahgonzalez.com.