The Lessons we can learn from Covid 19

The Covid 19 pandemic is a major challenge to the whole of humanity. In response to it Pope Francis has done two things. He has made the sacrament of reconciliation more freely available, and he is offering plenary indulgences. The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Martin, has called on his flock to pray to Mary, the Queen of Ireland, to intercede for us.

Both of these responses have a certain validity for those to whom they have some meaning. But I suspect there are a fair few of us, even among the believers, for whom neither of these approaches would be helpful. We might look for some different response.

I suggest it is a valid interpretation that this pandemic is a defensive act of nature against the destruction that humans are causing to the universe. As such, very important lessons will need to be learned as we go through this difficult time.

We will need to realise at a much deeper level that all of creation, from the tiniest particle to the most glorious galaxy, is one; that each aspect of creation is interlink with, and dependent on, all the rest; and that applies in a very special way to us humans. For too long we have arrogantly regarded ourselves as superior to everything else in the universe, and that nature was there for our use and exploitation. It will be a big lesson for humans to learn that this is not the case, that we too are dependent on all facets of the universe, and if we destroy the world around us we also destroy ourselves. Major life changes, both in the way we relate to each other, the way we structure our economic life, and the respect we need to re-discover for the world around us, will need to be made. It will be difficult.

It would help if religious people could move away from a lot of our old ways of speaking about God and the world. If we could forget about the Heavenly Being in the Sky, dominating and ruling over everything from a distance, and instead speak of a Divine Presence right at the heart of nature, of the universe, inspiring and energising the whole of what is. This type of spiritual message would help greatly in promoting the oneness of creation, and directing us humans to integrate ourselves more fully into creation, and come to know the beauty, the wonder and the mystery of it all.

I hope I can live through this dangerous time, because I believe that when we have come out the other side there will be a unique opportunity to create a new and more wonderful world for all life to exist in greater harmony and wholeness.