5 Lessons for Us Compliments of Coronavirus: Through a TOB Lens
April 28, 2020
Coronavirus Quarantine Fatigue… the struggle is real. I’m constantly reminding myself to look for the lessons and pay attention to this question: What is God trying to teach me… What is God striving to communicate to us? We are experiencing an unprecedented occasion to activate our radar and take note. I’m doing this with my Theology of the Body (TOB) glasses perched upon my nose. So… here is my stab at five lessons for us, compliments of Coronavirus.
We Are Made for Communion
TOB is a full understanding of what it means to be a human person. It reveals a Trinitarian sacramental anthropology and helps us discover how we, as human persons, are made in the image and likeness of a TRINITARIAN GOD who is a COMMUNION OF PERSONS (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). The human body is sacramental; how so, you may wonder? Through our visible embodiment as male and female and our call to love each other as Christ has loved us, we make visible the invisible inner life of God. So, no wonder we’re all feeling isolated in our “shelter in place” silos! We’re not made to be quarantined, secluded and alone. We are made to be in communion with one another; exchanging ideas at work, lessons at school and worship at Mass. Craving human interaction of hugs and handshakes are an experiential “tipoff” confirming our innate design and need for communion with others. Interacting through screens ain’t quite cutting it, is it?
We Find Ourselves Through a Sincere Gift of Self
A key idea in TOB is this quote: “Man is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” (Gaudium et Spes 24). Amazingly… for the first time in our lives we are connected to every human being on the entire planet with this virus. There is an overwhelming sense that “we are in this together.” Now, we can relate to someone who doesn’t look like us or has a totally different worldview. This shared experience of trauma brings people together and creates the willingness to sacrifice for others…for a cause…and service requires sacrifice. We see heroic, ordinary people, like health care providers, truck drivers, grocery store stockers and food pantry workers, willing the good of the other in sacrificial love. They all look beat and bone-tired because they are sacrificially pouring themselves out, as gift, for the good of others.
A Sacramental Worldview… Count it all Gift
Each day I’ve tried to take a walk, just to get out and get some exercise. Usually, springtime blossoms in Ohio get the smack down with one last, insulting, wintertime punch of below freezing temps, just as everything is flowering in its glory. Not so this year… not so. As I stroll through my neighborhood the prolific springtime blooms are almost intoxicating in their smells, varieties, kinds and colors. This spring is a total, love bomb explosion of beauty from the creator of beauty… God himself. And this is what TOB helps us with… it helps us see with TOB lenses that EVERYTHING is created and gifted by God and points us to him. This is a sacramental worldview. Being in Coronavirus lockdown has helped us appreciate the simple things in life that we normally take for granted. Slowing down, breathing in the beauty (if you don’t suffer from allergies, that is) gives one a grateful heart for all God’s good gifts.
TOB and the Dignity of Work… We Reflect the Creative Dynamism of God
I’m working from home… how about you? I count myself fortunate to have my job whereas so many have lost theirs… and the anchor that it provides. For some, work can mean drudgery… for others it is a laboratory of self-discovery and creativity. TOB helps us see that we create because God creates and we are made in His image and likeness… so we do as He does. During Coronavirus lockdown I have been struck by the creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of people! People like the closed pizza shop owner in New York who now uses his super hot ovens to bend medical grade plastic to make face shields for health care workers, Professional speakers who cancelled their live events and pivoted to online productions attracting many more thousands of attendees from countries all over the world, or friends and neighbors who whipped out their dusty sewing machines to make surgical masks. Creativity abounds!
The Inherent Dignity of the Human Person… In Sickness
TOB teaches that the body of the human person is a surpassing gift which must be received as a gift from God, a gift which must be respected and reverenced. This is the dignity and vocation of health care professionals, to be guardians and servants of the dignity of the human person, and to bear witness to the inherent dignity of every human person in and through the body. Who among us, doesn’t have a heart for those struggling with being sick, isolated, perhaps in the hospital alone and even dying from this virus. The lesson is that God is calling us to prayer… for the sick, their care givers and their families.
PAY ATTENTION! Don’t let this unprecedented moment pass you by; don’t miss its lessons. We are made for communion, called to be gift, graced with sacraments, blessed with creativity and inspired to pray. God’s trying to teach us; receive and embrace the message.
Written by, Leslie Kuhlman,
Executive Director of Ruah Woods