COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings at churches and other worship spaces have brought in this Holy Week the opportunity to reflect on what an extraordinary gift life is.
The enormous challenge the world is facing in the race to defeat the virus may also serve as a pause for many to nurture hope and confidence that we will overcome, not only physically, but emotionally, this current ordeal.
The religious practices, as well as ecumenical practices that nurture our spirituality, can contribute to the peace of mind that will allow us to strongly and responsibly respond to the threat of a virus that, just in a few weeks, has infected a thousand people and taken the lives of many of them.
Recognizing the uncertainty and fear that come with our human fragility does not undermine us. On the contrary, it strengthens us from within, aware that each of us can do a lot to protect our health, and thus not risk that of others.
Holy Week is an opportunity to embrace the values that encourage us to persevere in the face of the tough challenge posed by the pandemic.
From the Vatican in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries, Pope Francis has called for special support for the elderly who live alone, the homeless, and family and friends who cannot be physically united today because of prevention measures implemented in the face of a lack of an antidote to the virus.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as prelates and other religious leaders, has stressed that, in the face of mandatory isolation, telephone and social network allow us to reach relatives and other people who may feel lonely or confused amid the pandemic. They have suggested dialogue to reach, despite the distance, a comforting embrace and motivational messages that show our love for one another.
These days call us to reflect on the complexities of human behavior, the desire to quickly solve serious problems such as the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment to neutralize this virus. This moment calls for confidence in the human potential to find an antidote to the disease, while we all take prevention measures to stop the spread.
At this moment, when a large part of humanity scattered in different countries finds refuge in spirituality, it is wise to consider the value of love and sacrifice, and those others that contribute to the sense of solidarity.
Messages from religious leaders in different places remark the hard and brave work of health professionals, in hundreds of hospitals, who are fighting to save the lives of those infected with the aggressive virus.
We must recognize the deep generosity of these professionals and many others who every day expose themselves to the virus, on the streets or at work, to ensure essential services. We express our gratitude to these good Samaritans of modern times.
In these times of fear of sickness and death, and of natural attachment to life, faith and goodwill are great allies. Let us pray for the peace that comes from the confidence that we will overcome this unprecedented cycle, thanks to the cooperation of all of us.
May the calls of these days serve to gather the thoughts and attitudes that lead us to renew ourselves as human beings. Let us welcome this pause so that it may help Puerto Rico and the rest of the world to build from our spiritual and scientific strengths, confident that we will overcome this extraordinary test.