Today I would like to invite you to consider a different perspective within the context of increasing mandates regarding travel and COVID vaccination.
The big picture has nothing to do with the COVID drama. The big picture is always eternal life with God or eternal separation from Him. That is the choice we have to make. Everything else is temporary or fleeting; it all passes. So, we shift our overall focus toward certainties, things that absolutely will happen.
First, and I know this sounds harsh, but it must be said: we are all going to die. There is no escaping death. Yes, it’s painful when someone we know and love dies. That is absolutely true. Let’s take a look at this certainty through the Catholic perspective.
We believe that there are “4 last things:” Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. All 4 of these are certainties. We will all die. We will all be judged. There are only 2 places we can spend eternity, either heaven or hell. Death is the portal through which we all must enter so that we may be judged by our Lord on our temporal lives. We will spend eternity in either heaven with God or we will be eternally separated from God in hell.
Why do I mention this? This ought to be on the minds of everyone, particularly when we are in the midst of trials. How we endure these trials is one of the details that Jesus Christ will use in judging us. How merciful are we? How obedient are we to those appointed over us? How patient are we in difficulties? How well do we walk alongside others in their trials? How well do we evangelize? How do we include God in our decision-making? The list goes on and on.
Sometimes, especially during this COVID pandemic, don’t we get caught up in the political drama or have a hard time reconciling vaccination mandates with our personal beliefs, or do we just blindly go along to get along to avoid conflict? This list of questions is long as well. All of the minutiae that we can name are mere distractions from the big picture. They distract us from God and His will in our lives. They turn us away from God and, generally, lead us into error or even into sin. Don’t get caught up in the minutiae. Keep your mind on where you want to spend eternity.
Let’s change the perspective of our situational analysis. Yes, sometimes it is God’s will that someone we love very much becomes very ill or even dies. We have to accept that. God will use the evil of the moment to bring about the good. We tend to forget this. For example, sometimes, God answers our prayers with a yes, but the only way that our intentions could possibly happen is through difficulties that we could never have imagined. Maybe COVID is the means through which more people answer His call. Maybe disease or even vaccination mandates mean better reconciliations with estranged family members. Maybe the best and most complete reconciliations happen when death is imminent. Maybe our hardened hearts can only be cured by seeing someone close to us suffer. Whether it is us or them with the disease, both parties suffer. Maybe suffering together is the only way to reconciliation. Maybe.
This perspective obviously requires an enormous amount of trust in God. Trust that He has your absolute best interests in mind when we are faced with difficulties like this. We must Trust that only He knows the outcomes and invites us to spend eternity with Him. Trust that He created us to love and serve Him. Trust that He loves us enough to give each of us free will. He loves us individually. None of this is easy, especially while living in the world.
Live in the world, not of it.
Remember to keep this passing world in the proper perspective. Because this world (and everything in it) is passing away, even COVID. Take a moment and think about your own perspective. Maybe you can benefit from altering it a bit by evaluating the situation in terms of the big picture: Eternal Life with God or Eternal Separation from Him. Everything else is passing details that should not rule over us.
May the Lord bless you and yours abundantly!
Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP