“I am shutting so that i cannot escape”

by Mary Pereira

We are in a period of isolation, imprisonment – those who are affected by Covid19 or those on whom the isolation is imposed by the Government and Health Authorities. We are in the QUARANTINE PERIOD. In Psalm 88.8, we read:
“You have caused my companions to shun me…. I am shut in so that i cannot escape.” 
The period when we are shut in is quarantine.
Who has allowed this? Bible gives an answer for this. When wickedness increased in the world ( Gen.6.5-7), God decided to cause a heavy flood upon the earth and told Noah to build an ark in order to save His just one/s (Gen.7.1-5). When Noah finished building the arc, he “went in as God had commanded him, AND THE LORD SHUT HIM IN”(7.16). So too God has permitted us to be ‘indoors’ for a certain period of time.
What can we do during such a situation? Psalm 57.1 says:
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in thee my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings i will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
Yes, till the storms of destruction pass by, let us take refuge in the shadow of His wings; even if it is imposed upon us or otherwise, let us not loose our faith and hope.
We may have many questions arising in our minds. The anxiety about our future, economic insecurity, ‘what shall we eat, drink, wear (Mt.6.31), fear about loosing our job, how to repay our loans etc etc may cripple us down. What message has God for us now? In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, we see Jesus asking the disciples to give food for the multitudes who gathered in the desert to listen to Him. “Lifting up His eyes, and seeing that a multitude was coming to Him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” This He said to test him, for he Himself knew what He would do” (5,6). Here we understand that before a crisis comes, in God’s mind there is an answer, a solution for it.God leads us through a crisis keeping in His mind a way out for it. If God permits us to go through a test, He will give us a solution also.This Covid 19 has a definite answer in the Wisdom of God, which is not comprehensible for our limited knowledge and wisdom now.
God has in His mind many mysterious plans about this Covid19. Let us blindly believe in His perfect plan and rely on Him all the more. God has an answer for all the questions, anxiety, worries that burden us now. Our God cannot commit an error. Till the storms of destruction pass by, let us take refuge in the shadow of His wings. Let us lean on to His chest,  as did St.John at the Last Supper.
There is yet another beautiful thing which can happen in our lives during this period of quarantine. In busy schedule of our lives, day and night we are often preoccupied with many things concerning our lives. But we failed to focus on certain important issues of our lives.  Seldom have to sit back and know who we are, where am i heading to, what is the meaning and purpose of our lives etc. Quarantine is the time to face ourselves, to look into our hearts, to evaluate and correct ourselves. It is not the time to look into the outside world through the open windows, but within the closed door and windows, to turn to our heart, a time to listen to our God, to realize what He wants of me, to check my paths  and to question why should fight with others, why to put down others, why to be proud and arrogant… There are many questions which we can ask ourselves, and be honest with God in His Presence. Within the closed doors, the Risen Savior appeared to the disciples and said to them: “Peace be with you”(In. 20.19). The Lord who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Help.13.8), will fill our hearts with His Peace.
We all know about the period of ‘hibernation’ which some living creatures, butterfly for example, go through. It is a period of no activity in a resting place, but they come out of it with more life and vigour. So too we are in a phase of hibernation. Let us positively make use of the time, get more strength from the Lord AND ALSO PRAY FOR ALL WHO AFFECTED BY THIS DISEASE, WHO ARE IN THE HOSPITALS, WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO GET TREATMENT, WHO HAVE NO SHELTER AND FOOD… MAY WE HOLD ALL OF THEM IN OUR HEARTS AND PLEAD FOR THE MERCY OF THE LORD.
INDEBTED TO A MESSAGE FROM FR. DANIEL POOVANNATHIL,
DIRECTOR, CARMEL RETREAT CENTRE, TRIVANDRUM