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Seeking God in a Post-Pandemic World



Date: July 27, 2021

By: Lindsay F.


As mask mandates are lifted and physical distancing becomes a thing of the past, many

are anxious and excited to return to the way things were pre-pandemic, a return to

“normal.” Yet, in multiple addresses to his general audience, Pope Francis has

frequently reminded us that the world will never be the same again. He argues that we

should use this opportunity to become better than we once were, taking the lessons and

reflections we have learned over the last year and a half to become the best version of

ourselves in order to build a better world. This thought has really resonated with me –

I’ve prayed, reflected, and prayed some more. As I consider the year and a half of living

in the midst of a global pandemic I can’t help but see the little divine nudges that I likely

would have missed while living my previous state of “normal.”


Slow Down – Be still. – Psalm 46:10


If you had met me pre-pandemic, many would say I was a master juggler – my Mom

might even say I had 10 balls in the air at any given time. I thrived, so I thought, on

being busy. I felt that if I was busy it meant that I was needed and important. I worried what

others thought about me, I stressed over whether or not I was doing enough to be

worthy of the job I was in. I juggled multiple dinners a week with friends to ensure each

of them felt loved and cared for. I was drowning. My faith was suffering because I was

“too busy” – I wasn’t making the time for God that my heart needed to be spiritually full.

It’s impossible to hear His voice when your life is filled with so much noise. A forced

shut down not only mandated that I pause and realize how little time I had made for

Him, but it also prompted me to consider His will for me in my life. For many, myself

included, our “normal” had been understood or assumed to be a guarantee – and

slowly, as the weeks passed, we came to learn that nothing was certain. That in

considering one’s sense of security, “normal” was an illusion; the only thing that we can

be certain of is His love for us, a love so strong that He would never abandon us, even

during our darkest days. When the source of our strength is God alone, therein lies our

security and our ultimate hope.


Watch for His Signs – Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am

your God – Isaiah 41:10


August 5th, 2020 was almost a typical summer’s day aside from the fact that the world

continued to navigate a global pandemic with no vaccine in sight. My boyfriend and I

had had an early start to the day as we had planned to spend the morning at Moraine

Lake in Banff National Park to catch the sunrise and paddleboard. He had been

acting strange, but I figured it was due to a 2 AM alarm clock and a lack of sleep. What I

would learn later that morning is that his nerves were slowly eating away at him as he

prepared to get down on one knee to ask me to be his wife (spoiler – I said yes)!


A few weeks later, I went to note down in my agenda the day that we had become

engaged so that I’d have it marked down for my memory. My Blessed is She planner

highlights the feast days on each day and it had noted that August 5th was the Feast

Day of Our Lady of the Snows. To the average person, it might not have necessarily

meant anything more than a celebration of Our Lady, but it stood out to me. Our Lady of

the Snows was the name of the school where I began my teaching career, a position

that had taken me across the country and away from my family. After years of being

unable to find a job as a teacher in my hometown, this life change would lead me on a

path I would have never planned nor seen for myself. Looking back on that time in my

life, I can see God’s hand in it all; Divine intervention beyond a shadow of doubt. It was

where I first began to truly trust in God’s will for my life and to follow His lead.


Aside from being the namesake of the school, 3 years prior I had booked a one-way

ticket to Italy after enduring a difficult breakup. Feeling lost and uncertain, I had this

intense desire to run away, my heart longing to go somewhere where my heart could

rest and I could feel at home. It only made sense that I would run home to St. Peter’s

Basilica in Vatican City where I would spend my days on my knees praying and

attending Mass in languages I couldn’t understand. On August 5th 2017, I would

conclude my time in Rome at Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, a church built

on the grounds where an apparition of Mary took place, a miracle that would offer her

the title Our Lady of the Snows. I left Rome that day rested, renewed….refreshed.


My fiancée, a non-Catholic, proposing to me on this day was undeniably a sign from

Our Lady in the midst of a pandemic reminding me to trust, to keep the faith, and

maintain hope. Moreover, it redirected my attention to the Sacrament of Marriage –

while a wedding is a beautiful wonder to behold, the union of man and wife before God

far outweighs the glitter and glam. As we prepare to marry on December 18th of this

year, I trust with my whole heart that the day will be exactly as God intended it to be.


Beauty in the Sacraments – For God so loved the world that He gave His only

Son.- John 3:16


For many of us the saying, “you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone” never

rang more true than when we could no longer attend Mass to receive the Sacrament of

the Eucharist, pray before the Blessed Sacrament, or receive the Sacrament of

Reconciliation. While parishes around the world were resilient in navigating online

streaming, the absence of community, the absence of being present with the Real

Presence, and the inability to physically receive Him was felt deeply. It forced us to

come to know Him on a deeper level, to find new and unique ways to pray and worship,

to surrender ourselves fully and totally to Him – fully realizing what it means to enter into

spiritual communion, a reality that left us yearning for Him. The first time I returned to

the Church, albeit with reduced capacity, I was overcome with this indescribable sense

of joy. That feeling of knowing you are home, wanting to fall at the foot of the altar like

the Prodigal Son in Remembrant’s painting while resting your head in the lap of the

Father. In a post-pandemic world, I hope to carry that yearning with me always. To

remember how much I desperately needed and hungered for the Eucharist.


Are there things that I hope to maintain from a pre-pandemic world? Absolutely. I cannot

wait to travel again to witness the beauty of His creation in other parts of the world, to

accompany an “I love you” with a warm hug, to see and return the smile behind the

masks, to shake hands with a stranger, to break bread with friends outside of my

household, or to sing with a full heart. But I’ll do all that and more differently – I’ll do it

with a grateful heart, giving thanks to God for each and every moment, remembering to

keep Him at the center of it all. Moments in life are fleeting, but His love endures

forever.


What are some of the Divine nudges that God has revealed to you in the pandemic?

How will you live your life differently? Will you fully surrender yourself to His will?


May God continue to watch over us all and keep us safe and well.


Amen.