Priest’s Corner, December 2020
Given the difficulties we have all faced during this past year, it is likely that many of us will be happy to see 2020 disappear into history with the coming of the new year. Unfortunately, pandemics and similar trials do not always disappear with the turning of a calendar page. We pray that the pandemic, and the restrictions placed upon us as a result, will end in the coming year. Until that time, we will continue to conduct our services with the same modifications we have been using over these months until we are allowed to return to our normal, unrestricted practices.
The aforementioned notwithstanding, we should be grateful to our Heavenly Father for His boundless and never-ending mercies, with which He continually graces us. Does this mean we should be grateful for this pandemic and all of the difficulties it has caused us? Absolutely. As a schoolteacher in both middle and high schools, I encountered a number of troubled and disruptive students. In trying to get to the root of their unhappiness, I discovered that virtually all of them were allowed by their parents to do as they pleased without any oversight, restriction, or discipline on their part. Whatever the reasons for this (some respectable, others not), I could see that it appeared to these children that their parents did not care enough about them to take the time to guide them, to counsel them, and yes, to discipline them when necessary.
All of life’s trials and tribulations are allowed by or sent by God to strengthen our faith and to constantly remind us that all things are in His hands. The fact that this virus continues to run its own course—regardless of the government-imposed lockdowns and other restrictions placed on us—must be humbling to us and to all of mankind, if our spiritual eyes are open to recognize this. Just as we trust that God will protect us from any harm every time we leave our homes, drive our cars, or simply go about our daily lives, so too should we trust in His benevolence that this trial will end and that, hopefully, we will have learned the lessons He intended us to learn.
Let us, in this coming new year, once again place our trust in God’s mercy, recommit ourselves to our faith, and gratefully recognize His love and benevolence in all things, in the knowledge that He cares enough about us to discipline us while also protecting us and guiding us along the path to salvation.