Worried about Coronavirus? Reflect with Reason & Faith

Worried about Coronavirus? Reflect with Reason & Faith

Bezawit O'Neill '23, Faith Editor

The contagious nature of the coronavirus is causing widespread anxiety, and this psychological effect is important to recognize and reflect on. The key to responding to the emotional challenges elicited by the spread of the virus is to reflect and assess before responding, and the way to reflect and assess involves using both our reason and our faith. 

Using Reason to Reflect, Respond and Recalibrate

In Massachusetts, there were 123 confirmed cases as of March 14, 2020, but the numbers are changing daily. In addition, testing has not been widespread, with most people diagnosed by phone conversations with their doctors and through consultations to manage symptoms. Of those who get the disease, 80% experience mild or moderate symptoms. Those aged 60 or older and those who have chronic conditions related to lungs, kidneys, or diabetes are in greater danger. Very few teenagers have contracted the disease. MA Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency and discouraged gatherings of 250 people or more. Many public schools have closed in the state, and Boston Archdiocese Cardinal Sean O’Malley closed all parochial schools and has closed churches for the time being. The goal of these measures is to prevent the spread of the disease.

You also have a lot of power at your hands to prevent yourself from getting sick and to protect your family. Check out these guidelines from the US Center for Disease Control. There is also advice from mental health professionals to help you reframe your fears and help reduce your anxiety. Also check out the Montrose LifeCompass blog post by Associate LifeCompass Director Mrs. Kris, and follow the three Ps she outlines: Peace, Perspective, and Permission.

Trusting your Faith to Manage Anxiety and Uncertainty

The Bible gives us a direct message about anxiety: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). 

In addition to the words of the Bible, let’s remember Jesus’ example. On the night Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves, he transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then from the cloud came a voice that said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying: “Rise, and do not be afraid” (Matthew 17:1-9).

As the news of people testing positive and the number of cases for coronavirus increase, we are like Jesus’ Apostles on that mountain. In a moment of fear, in a moment of uncertainty, we all fall and let fear take control. We create busywork for ourselves, such as going out and buying boxes and boxes of toilet rolls, cleaning materials, food, water, and so on. We rush about trying to see what we can do to keep ourselves safe and come out of this pandemic alive. However, if we slow ourselves down a bit, and put everything into perspective, we will feel Jesus come over touch us and say: “Rise up and do not be afraid.” Over and over again, Jesus tells us to not be afraid, for he is with us. He tells us not to be discouraged, for he is our God and he will strengthen us and help us. He asks us to trust in him and let him save us, and we must be willing to be saved. We must use our will and our heart to trust.

Pray to God, let him know your fears and concerns, and ask him to be with you each step of the way. Pray for those who are suffering more than you, those who have the coronavirus, and those who have lost a loved one to this disease. If you have neighbors who live on their own, give them a call, send them a text, and see how they’re doing. Open your arms to others and let them know it’s ok. It is only by coming together and looking out for all our brothers and sisters that we can finally conquer this challenge. Scientists , doctors, nurses, and leaders are all working together to come up with a safe method to keep everything under control, so let us all work together as well. Let us not think of only ourselves, but those around us. As we’ve seen throughout our history, we were only able to conquer our obstacles and break barriers when we came together and fought not just for ourselves but for the good of others.

Also, remember that we are not fighting this battle alone. We have God on our side. The God who freed his people from slavery, the God who created the world, the God who sent down his only son to be sacrificed to save us all. The God whose love for us is countless like the number of stars in the sky. The same God who told us to “Rise and do not be afraid.”