“Christ the Consolator” (detail) by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How many times have you heard people say, “If God really exists, why does He let people get cancer or brain tumors?” Or, “If there really is a God, why does He allow wars and famine?” Or, “Where is God when we need Him most?”

Well it occurred to me during this time of the world-wide, coronavirus pandemic called Covid-19, that we sure could use a sign that God is with us. And then, during my Lenten prayer reflection this morning, I realized that God most certainly has been with us throughout this time of need and uncertainty.

As a Catholic, it seems serendipitous that we are in the season of Lent which focuses on:

  • Prayer,
  • Fasting, and 
  • Almsgiving (or charity).

How do these acts, which the Church calls us to practice during Lent, coincide with the desired behavior during the pandemic?

First, given our current circumstances, I have no doubt that people are praying more, not only for their own health and safety, but for that of other family members and friends.

Second, although I am not fasting every day, I am eating less so that our food supply lasts longer. Also, because we have to practice social distancing, it’s not so easy to get food. God is leading us to think about the virtue of temperance.

As for almsgiving (charity), there is much of that going on. I know of church groups and individuals shopping for and delivering groceries to the sick and elderly who cannot get out of their homes. On the corporate side, I have heard of businesses large and small willing to keep paychecks going as long as they possibly can.

In addition to these Lenten practices which have helped to produce such good fruit for our neighbors and friends, I am sure that you could think of other positive changes that have taken place since this crisis began. Here are a few that occurred to me:

  • The constant political attacks and venom have begun to turn into bi-partisan cooperation,
  • The hectic pace of the world and especially the United States has slowed down,
  • Non-stop work and play schedules have been converted into family time,
  • Isolation from our next-door neighbors has been changed into kindness and support for one another,
  • Young people have started to think about the well-being of their elders as their responsibility, and
  • Our doctors, healthcare workers, and scientists are now viewed as our heroes instead of entertainment and sports figures.

These are all clear signs to me that God, as always, has been with us. His grace has been abundant in guiding our nation’s leaders in ways to protect us and in guiding ordinary folks in being obedient for the sake of our own and others’ well-being.

Let’s continue to thank the Lord for each day and to pray for all of those who are in need and for those who are doing the Lord’s work.

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