When I was asked to give the rollo for tonight’s school of leaders I was asked to talk about what does it mean to be a lay person in a Church that is faced with the Covid-19 pandemic.
I have had to think: What is a layperson? What is the Church? How do lay people interact? What happens when there is a pandemic? What is a pandemic? How do I fit in? What am I to do? How do I react? Where is God in all of this? What have I done to prepare for this environment? How has God prepared me to act and react in this environment?
As a layperson, a member of a community, I have a mission to bring Jesus Christ to the world in every situation that I am in.
During this Covid-19 pandemic that communication is difficult because of self-isolation and physical distancing but it can be done by telephone, texting, skype, WhatsApp, zoom and other electronic means. I am still able to interact with others.
As a layperson, it is my duty to keep God’s vision of building His kingdom on earth and bringing us all into His presence when His plan comes to fruition!
So as a layperson, no matter the situation or the difficulties that I may face I need to keep in the forefront of my mind that my mission is to let everyone know that GOD LOVES HIM OR HER and that my job is to “Make a friend, be a friend and bring my friend to God” no matter what is happening in the world!
God has a plan! His plan is to save each one of us. This plan is personal and it is worldwide.
Today, during this Covid-19 pandemic we may think that God is not concerned about us. I know that I have found that there has been stress in my life but that this is a new type of stress: the stress of restrictions, behavioral and spiritual; the stress of an uncertain future; stress where my understanding of God’s will for me has caused me to talk (pray) to Him more as I look sincerely for answers.
I always have seen myself as an active member of a community that loves, believes, and hopes in God. This pandemic has caused me to look deeper into myself and into my community family and I ask:
Who am I? Do I need to re-invent myself? What do I do now in this new season that I am in? Am I afraid of what I do not know in as much as this fear is a part of the Covid-19 experience?
Then I look at how I have been prepared for this time of upheaval. What has my journey been to bring me to where I am right now?
God is telling me that as a layperson in His Church during this serious time that I can not give up on HOPE: that the hope I see for my future (to always be with God) is the hope that I must live out today!
When I am at mass (and I have had the privilege to go to weekly Sunday mass and sing in our Corona Choir that was put together to sing for Holy Saturday and to live stream our regular Sunday mass) I am to be joyful and spirit-filled letting others that I am with know there is hope and that there is light.
I am to love the world today and not shut myself up in fear. I am to live in the ‘present’ and not to live in ‘what was’. I am to see what I have – what is the present and to know how much love there is from God and from everyone else.
Therefore, as a layperson living a pandemic in the world and in the Catholic Church, it is my duty to care for myself and to care for you in the best way that I am able to do this caring!
How do I do this? Well, I need to stay healthy, to rest, to sleep well, to reduce stress, to exercise, to play, and to serve you the best that I can so that I am allowed to continue God’s mission of salvation.
I need to use the tools that God has given to me, through this journey He has placed me on, in order to give hope to a Church in the pandemic.
He asks me to look for: Hidden treasures; To make meaning of this experience; To become a better person; To be different that I was before the pandemic started; To live in the present; To value each person; To stay positive; To help create community; (To take time, now, to make meaning of suffering and to be able to have hope for the future -Victor Frankl)
Thus, God is asking me to: BE ME, To continue the work that I was doing, To be positive, To remember He is always here, To not give up on HOPE’ To bring this positive message to His people that He loves and for whom He died and has Risen from the dead.
Again, the question is: “What does it mean to be living as a layperson in the Church during the Covid-19 pandemic?”.
By keeping in mind the following words that show how God gives us hope you will see what has given me the hope during this time and how I am living this pandemic time.
My dear beloved friend, Debborah, said the following words as if it was God speaking them through her to whomever she said them:
“I Love you. I Love you. I Love you more!” In this we have the Hope that God loves us and is with us.
“I love you. I love you. I love you more!”