20 march 2020
We are living Lent under quarantine, which is not surprising, but the comparison stops there because many things are reversed, hence our dismay. We understand that the time of the desert is a time of withdrawal, but the fact that it is cramped into small apartments does not open the horizon. The difficulty is less to live in solitude than to endure an intensified common life. The presence of children all day long does not help one to concentrate. It hinders teleworking considerably. For many people, it is necessary to continue to work in order to carry out vital functions.
Things are reversed: true love means preserving others, the most vulnerable, from our contact, our touch, the concrete and tactile manifestation of our affection. No hugging, no hugging, no hugging, not even visiting. Everything is done "remotely", by phone, skype, zoom... it's not much, even if it's already something. Love manifests itself in withdrawal. Is that why God is absent? "It's good for you that I'm leaving"? At the risk of contacting us? "No one can see God without dying"? That's hard to understand.
Everything's changed and it's not sustainable in the long run. We are going to become more and more painfully aware of this. It has to change again and as soon as possible. We can wait. We will have to wait, under penalty of a fine, or rather under penalty of death. But real life is elsewhere, otherwise. We're not meant to be reclusive but we must remain reclusive, temporarily.
What will real life be like? How then will we invent it? Let us reflect and, to do so, let us read, meditate, let us devote ourselves to the essentials, said a president who was not well understood on this point... Let us study, let us become researchers together and, to do so, like care workers, biologists, inventors of tests, drugs, vaccines, life support machines, let us train ourselves, individually and collectively.
Fr Michel Van Aerde op