Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of Canada - Franciscains du Canada
Ordo Fratrum Minorum
Listening to the news, it seems the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing only its share of deaths and infected people. The talk is alarming; it is not only a health concern, but also a concern for the economy. We cannot measure, at this time, all the consequences this pandemic will have. And yet, in this global pause, there is also a lot of life.
Each new day brings its share of information with a count of those infected, in intensive care and deceased. We have now grown accostumed to it.. We are waiting for it; we are all hoping for that famous “spike” that will indicate that things are starting to get better. We collectively fear that the curve will start to rise again. We’re already talking about the second wave in the fall.
And then there are concerns about the economic consequences: what impact will this have on family income? On the underprivileged? On the government? Companies are also asking us about the future, about their business recovery, about the long-term consequences. For many, the pandemic is causing concerns that go well beyond public health issues. Our situation could have far-reaching consequences. It is even difficult to measure the extent of the consequences.
But there is something else.
Some families have been reunited. Yes. Because before, they were lost. Suddenly there’s a renewed sense of togetherness, of doing things as a family unit. I’ve never seen so many parents and children walking the streets, riding bicycles, organizing outdoors activities. While city parks were closed, nature reserves and national parks were opening. We could enjoy our region to the fullest; all we had to do was keep the regulatory distance from our neighbours… if there were any!
How many grandparents learned to use Skype or Facebook, and were able to get in touch or – better! – keep in touch with the grandchildren. Families who didn’t talk to each other, now find themselves on the internet regularly. Some have found a renewed taste for family life.
I even dare to ask a question: who said that the best thing for humanity is the sacrosanct “economic growth”? I am less and less convinced. I wish to take, from now on, the pulse of “human growth” or “humanizing”. I increasingly question the “economic health indices”, not as interesting data, but as a tool for measuring the health of us all, the human beings who inhabit this world.
When I see that 80 families own more than 50% of the planet’s wealth, when I see that the 1% leaves crumbs to the 99%, of which we are, I wonder. Seriously, I wonder. Who are the people suffering from the pandemic, economically speaking?
Could it be that we were on a path that was leading us to “ruin”… in human terms? Could it be that we were able to build a different world as a result of such a global event? My Korean colleague, Paul, told me that economists and political observers in his country think so deeply.
It may be that a lot of good will come out of this ordeal. And surprisingly. The good Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte was quite right: “When doors close, the Holy Spirit inspires people who seek others. »
Photo-credit: National Cancer Institute (unsplash.com)