“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:2-5).
These are tough times. Uncertain, scary, much harder than usual times. Times that many of us have never seen in a lifetime. We need God’s help to make it through this time. Remember that we are all part of God’s family, and remain mindful of the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though we are asked to stay apart from each other physically, we need to remember that we are always spiritually and emotionally connected as one human family, stronger together than apart.
As we reflect on how this coronavirus pandemic made its way around the world, it is because of our physical connections to each other. Someone far across the world sparked the pandemic, spreading the virus from one person to another. With our modern day methods of travel, it was passed from continent to continent, country to country, making its way here to the United States. While it might seem that the world is immense, we are easily connected in modern times.
While many people are struggling to get through this time, whether physically, mentally or financially, it is especially important to show compassion and courtesy to our neighbors. Offer to drop off a meal to an isolated elderly neighbor, or just call to chat with them. Check with your neighbors to see if they need help with shopping. Be courteous and patient when you’re out in public, whether you’re waiting in line to enter the grocery store, or waiting for someone to finish choosing an item from the shelf. Thank the store clerks for cleaning the carts and conveyer belts. Kindness goes a long way when everyone is feeling the stress of the pandemic.
The members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Philadelphia are still working in spite of the coronavirus pandemic to continue their mission to shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, provide hope to the imprisoned, and give comfort to the suffering. More people are in need because of the effects of the virus. You too can help those suffering, whether they were suffering before the pandemic or because of it.
Life is particularly hard now, but eventually the dark clouds will part and the sun will come out again. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and the joy that comes from helping each other along the way will make it seem a little bit closer.
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society of Philadelphia has many ways, customized to each local community for you to transform the lives of your neighbors as well as your own life, including through participation and building up the community. Like that of its founder, blessed Frédéric Ozanam, the vision of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul “is to embrace the world in a network of charity.”