Corona Stories: We All Must Drink From This Chalice

I have decided to limit my reading on the Covid-19 pandemic. I still check it out once a day. I do not feel good about it. What I read on the web is that the first wave is not even close to being over, and then in November they expect a second wave, maybe worse. I do not know what to think. I have the feeling that we are all caught in a large net that is getting smaller and tighter as time goes on. I am probably wrong to feel this. Some of my friends think the virus is really not that serious at all. I disagree, but hope that they are right.

There is not l whole lot in life that is a for-sure, forgone conclusion. One is: 95,000 deaths over the past few months is a lot of people. So the count will go up, and no one of us knows if we will be part of that count.

It is impossible to really dwell on our own passing. We may think about it, but in doing that we are in reality being an observer. Death is an experience. It is not something that can be observed for what it really is. Death is private, deeply personal, and an ending of existence as far as this world is concerned.

Be Honest With the Lord

In prayer, I try to honest with the Lord. I pray for my loved ones, friends, employees, and for the world at large. We will all die, but most of us will not die at this time, from this disease. Many, perhaps for the first time in their lives, no matter their age, are on some level engaged in a prolonged meditation on death. It could be more or less on a twilight level. It is best to bring it to full light, which can actually lessen the anxiety.

In July (yes, a long way off), I will be taking my brother to the VA. I guess at that time we will all still be masked, and gloved, and keeping our distance. The future is unsure. Just a few months ago, who would have thought things would be the way they are now?

Yet here we are. The world is going through a universal Gethsemane experience. We are placed in a position where this chalice can’t be dodged. We all have to drink of it, some of us to the dregs. It is as if the actual existential situation of mankind is being faced together.

The Christian faith teaches that God is with us in all of this, actually suffering with us, becoming flesh to show us the love of the Father. Faith has to be lived, not just thought about, or talked, or argued about, but lived on the gut level. We all have to go through many trials in our lives, and no one escapes suffering.

Jesus Shows Us

Yet we have Jesus Christ, who shows us the way. There will be times when we will have to simply go through it without let up, and do it in a faithful manner as Jesus did. He actually died, but His obedience led to His Resurrection. For those who believe this gives deep meaning to all we are called or forced, to go through.

In that, joy can be found. Not escape from the ups and downs of life, but true and abiding joy that comes from living our faith, trusting when all seems lost, and taking the next step.


Brother Mark Dohle, now seventy-one, has been a monk of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, since 1971. He runs the monastery’s retreat house. His last article was To a Brother Born Before Death. You can find his other articles for Hour of Our Death here.

The picture was taken by Abhijit Kar Gupta and used under a Creative Commons 2 license.
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