Sustaining Hope During the Pandemic

April 20, 2022

Having just passed the two-year mark from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I spent some time asking myself, How did we ever make it through those first few months during lockdown?

I noticed a lot of memories from two years ago pop up on social media. As with most social media posts, these memories are filled with positive and happy times- leisurely family bike rides, family walks with the kids dressed in costumes, decades upon decades of rosaries prayed as a family, and posts that simply say “today was a good day” with a photo of a smiling kid. I am so grateful for these social media memories since honestly, I blocked most of those early months of the pandemic from my mind. As we all know, the pandemic was filled with so much pain, fear, and uncertainty, and it can be difficult to call to mind those harder times. 

Reading back through my prayer journal, I read about these less-than-ideal moments over and over again. God, I seek the grace of calm…God, please give me the grace of a positive attitude… God, please grant me the grace to see Christ in my family… God, how much longer do we have to live like this?… God, there is so much suffering and hatred in our world right now, I am beginning to feel hopeless…God, thank you for your presence in my life, I don’t know how I would get through this without you…

Simply typing these words brings tears to my eyes. I cannot help but remember some of those especially hard days. The moments of raised voices and harsh words. The moments of losing my patience and crying on our bathroom floor. The moments when everything felt dark and there wasn’t an end in sight.

After spending the last several months working on our Lenten retreat, walking through the Triduum, and celebrating Easter, I cannot help but feel a newer, deeper sense of hope and gratitude for Jesus’ suffering and resurrection. Jesus, the son of God, the light of our world and source of all hope, was mocked, betrayed, spit on, and stripped of his clothing, all before suffering a gruesome, painful death on a cross.

Before these horrific events took place, Jesus cried out to God. We read in in Matthew’s gospel, “He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.’…Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, ‘My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!’” (Matthew 26:39, 42)

Jesus, fully human and fully divine, cried out to his Father, he knew the pain he was going to have to endure, but he suffered it anyway. Remembering Jesus’ suffering, imagining Jesus walking with the burden of his cross on his back as sweat and blood fall down his tired and weary face for the sake of our sins, and imagining Jesus on the cross locking eyes with Mary, makes my heart ache. Living through those early months of the pandemic felt a lot like Good Friday. There was so much pain and suffering all around us. It was hard at times to see and embrace the pockets of joy with so much unknown, so much suffering and death, so much heartache.

But as Pope John Paul II reminds us, “We are an Easter people and alleluia is our song!” Our story doesn’t end with Good Friday, we can see an end to the darkness in the light of our world and source of all hope. Yes, Jesus suffered a painful death, but he also rises! Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene and the disciples gives us hope that we are not alone, Jesus is with us.

Two years later and I can answer my question without hesitation, How did we ever make it through those first few months during lockdown? We made it through because of Jesus. Jesus was with me through all of it. He was with me and my family on all those bike rides, costumed walks, and in the smiles of my kids. He was there with me crying on the bathroom floor filled with guilt for yelling. He was with me when my heart physically ached as we read of more and more people suffering from COVID, racial injustices, and natural disasters. I made it through those trying times and will make it through future hard times because I place my hope, my trust in Jesus. 

How did Jesus help carry you through the pandemic? How has your hope in Jesus helped you walk through other “Good Friday” moments in your life?

Go Deeper:

  • Visit our hope prayer resource page to find other blogs, handouts, and videos about hope.
  • Read Becky’s article about our Anchor into Hope.
  • Read about practicing our hope in Vinita’s article Hope is an Art.
  • Ready to retreat with us in-person? Join us in July in New Orleans, LA for a Women’s Silent Ignatian Preached Retreat directed by Becky & Stephanie. Don’t delay, we’re filling up fast! Read more here.

Photo by Mark Stosberg on unsplash.com 

 

With experience in youth ministry, campus ministry, faith formation, and as a high school theology teacher, Charlotte has worked in numerous parishes and schools along the Gulf Coast and in the Diocese of Rockford. She holds a B.A. in Theology and Master of Pastoral Studies from Spring Hill College. Charlotte and her husband live in New Orleans with their four young children, where she enjoys Ignatian Spirituality, reading, listening to live music, and bike riding with her family.

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