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For guidance on the ‘new normal,’ look to the Holy Family

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If by “new normal” we mean a life-changing event has occurred, and we are constantly adapting to the latest information, then I think we have fully settled in to a “new normal.” This is not a static normal, but a state of constant adjustment. When I hear the phrase, “in these uncertain times,” I long for certainty. 

There are times all this change seems unnecessary — the canceled family celebrations, the limitations on outings, the masks. Then, I see the data: how many people are infected with COVID-19, how the coronavirus is spread in the air, the toll on family and friends. Yet in this whirlwind of information, emotion and adaptation, one thing is certain: the love of God. 

It is easy to become isolated, depressed, and afraid. We must remind each other of Our Lord’s words, “Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid” (Jn 14:27). I find consolation in this message as we begin to plan for the future. Many people have not yet returned to their routines and continue to stay home to stay safe; they feel there is too great a risk to themselves or their loved ones. As we learn more about how to stop the spread of the virus, it is important to consider others — what they need, how they feel, how to respect them. We must continue to comfort and support each other in this trial. We must proclaim, Christ is with us, he loves us, and we have hope.

As we near the end of summer, we must begin to make decisions for the future. Like many others, I am working from home, educating my children, juggling errands and am constantly calculating risks/benefits. For example, I enjoy my time with my children, but I know they benefit from the education they receive at school and their time with friends. I enjoy the flexibility of working from home, but encounter distractions throughout my day and worry about my role when absent from the workplace. 

I now find my attention moving to the fall. How will we educate our children this year? How will this impact work? What is best for our family? What is the right thing to do?

Whenever I face such big decisions, I turn to the Holy Family. Mary and Joseph’s world changed, with a simple “yes.” They faced trials and danger, and together they safeguarded the Son of God within their family. They made many sacrifices, raised Our Lord according to their faith and customs, and even with an uncertain future — they let him go into the world to fulfill God’s plan. 

I know we are not alone; many of us weigh the future with gravity this year. Our Lord does not abandon us in times like these. He established his church to remain with us always — until the end of time. Wherever we are, we can lift our hearts and minds to Our Lord and know he is with us. We must resolve to stay close to Our Lord, to seek out his will, and to surrender to his divine providence. If we simply utter a “yes” to him, he will guide our paths, sustain us in our times of need, and bring forth great fruit.

Lienhard is the director of the Catholic Education Center and special consultant for catechetics for the Diocese of Arlington.

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020