Mon. Oct 19th, 2020

What a weird couple of weeks it has been, and I suspect it is going to get weirder and maybe even scarier. COVID-19, now a pandemic, has absolutely turned a lot of plans upside down and has upset a great many applecarts.
I think it is important for us to understand that God does not ever cause evil to occur. However, He does allow evil and suffering, which is a normal part of human life since The Fall. In general He allows evil because He honors our freedom to choose, and that is what Adam and Eve chose. So, while God is not causing this suffering, He is certainly standing by, ready to bring good out of this darkness and suffering. I would like to encourage each of you, and me too, to be intentional about allowing God to work through this virus to bring goodness and holiness to us.
How? I would like to offer a few thoughts.
First, we will be less busy over the next few weeks. Sporting events and practices are cancelled. Dance classes and recitals are being cancelled. I am firmly convinced that one of the Enemy’s greatest tools to keep us from God is business. We don’t reject God. We just never get around to entering into great intimacy with Him. We are too busy. Perhaps this time of social disruption will provide us and our families with some time that is not spoken for; dare I say, free time. How about we pray a rosary as a family daily, or pray the Divine Office. Maybe we can read the Gospel of Matthew out loud as a family. I know that we have all thought of this sort of thing before, but maybe the virus has just given you and your family the time to actually do it.
Maybe we can spend time talking as a family or playing a game as a family such as touch football, basketball, Monopoly, Heads Up! (app available), Outburst or some other great game.
Enjoy your family and take advantage of this time that has fallen into your lap!
Additionally, I think the virus has the potential to wake us from our daze of being comfortable. It is easy to coast along through life and not really give a great deal of thought to God and what He may want from me. When we are comfortable we do not tend to be introspective. Right now we are all uncomfortable. We worry about what will happen next and wonder if we are going to get sick. We worry about our loved ones and we worry about not being able to find the necessities of life. It is uncomfortable. I don’t mean to minimize that, but I would like to encourage you, and myself, to allow God to work powerfully in our hearts. We all can grow in our intimacy with God. We all can become more detached from this world so to be more attached to the Creator.
Let us pray for each other, and let us care for those who have less than us. Let the world around us look at us and say, “See how they love one another.”
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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