March 27, 2020

Coronavirus - pandemic or opportunity?

By Archimandrite Bartholomew,
Abbot of Esphigmenou Monastery

Fear, panic, uncertainty and anxiety prevails over humanity, and the cause of this - a small virus. Something "microscopic" came to dominate the "big", to subdue it completely!

Suddenly terror overwhelms the young and the old, the mighty and the weak. We call it a threat, an invisible enemy, to justify our weakness.

We immediately forgot about our ego which constantly persuaded us that we are capable of everything, stronger than all. Then comes the microscopic virus before which we are all equal and weak.

But what is this virus?

Whether artificial or natural, it creates the same condition.

Is it a pandemic or a message from heaven?

The story of the Tower of Babel is once again unfolding today before our eyes.

People are deifying themselves and replacing God. Either by experiments that escape them from the laboratories, or by bad habits which sicken nature, people are eventually creating the perfect conditions for our self-destruction.

In the midst of this chaos, some live in their terror, others in their panic, others take advantage of the situation and confuse the world with fake news, others are rising up in revolt without being ready for it, others are patient and obedient, others oppose the whole situation, but to no avail.

Ultimately humanity is confused by a single virus and reveals the inability of man, not in dealing with the virus, but in dealing with himself.

In the midst of this general evil and agitation it is not permissible to "come out with knives" and hurt one another, believing one point of view is more correct, and trying to enforce it.

History has taught us that a crisis can only be overcome together.

Tackling the present difficulty requires management and patience.

The coronavirus pandemic is ultimately a situation full of opportunities for everyone.

We are given the opportunity to practice patience and endure temptation.

We are given the opportunity to show confidence in our Church by obeying her decisions.

We are given the opportunity to spend more hours at home.

We are given the opportunity to spend more time with our spouse. Occupational obligations take us over all year round, resulting in a crisis. Couples move away from each other resulting in alienation. Alienation brings about a lack of tolerance for one another. The love that united the couple freezes, and in every difficulty the first thought is: "we shall part ways" and never: "we will try."

We are given the opportunity to sit down with our children, something impossible before due to obligations.

We are given the opportunity to devote enough time to ourselves, which we unfortunately have neglected.

We are given the opportunity for more prayer and communication with our God. We forgot him in our busy day-to-day life.

We are finally given the opportunity to become and function again as human beings, using the mind and heart. To stop operating mechanically, without meaning, without hope, without a future.

The virus is ultimately a pandemic that can hurt us all, whether deadly or not, but with proper management we can turn it into a "pandemic of opportunity" for our lives.

This temptation will pass, as so many others have over time.

We will be patient and manage to overcome the difficulty as long as it takes.

But let us not leave these opportunities given to us to be overlooked.

They are life opportunities given to us to make a radical reboot of ourselves.

A reboot in a life that belongs to us yet forget about. A life full of ideas and values ​​that we unfortunately left behind because we set other priorities.

People fight and sacrifice for the values ​​in their life.

Isn't it nice for someone to fight for his/her spouse, the person whom they loved and united with in their life?

Isn't it nice for someone to fight for their kids, relatives and friends?

Isn't it nice for someone to fight for their fellow man, their homeland, their beliefs?

Isn't it nice to fight for one's self, one's inner world, to be able to withstand and manage situations, to be able to lend a helping hand?

So we see that through a small and dangerous virus that threatens us, we can finally come out as winners. To conquer something big that we had lost.

The coronavirus pandemic will pass. It will surely leave wounds behind. But it will give us many opportunities to reconsider many things in our lives, and through the pain and difficulty we can renew our behavior throughout our human existence.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.