I am elegantly and oblately getting ready for the summer, and the post-Covid19 mission. And from all indications, neither the world nor the mission will remain the same after this Coronavirus. I assume that I’m not saying anything new to those who understand the signs of the time. However, I’m still going to underline a few areas I’m personally seeing unavoidable evolution in our missions and society. And to put things straight, there is no danger ahead as the future will be bright and promising, though, only for people with vision. And as to me, I have even started dressing to embrace joy and readiness for the post-Covid19 missionary experience. But before then, here are those areas I believe we should consider very well.
1. A Change in Fraternity and Sorority
All those who thought that they cannot survive without one person, or the other, in their life, would have understood that, though no one is an island, nobody has the key to our collective well-being. It is obvious that we need others, but we can survive without those who do not contribute to our growth.
However, we should be careful to avoid creating the illusion that we can survive alone. Our successful survival of this confinement will depend mainly on our natural communal instinct of survival which is not active in normal circumstances of our ordinary everyday life.
2. An Upgrade (update) in MissionWe have been doing the mission in traditional ways for ages. And, I often hear people say, it has always been this or that way, but the good news is that it can no longer be the same. Unfortunately, many missionaries are still waiting for the confinement to end to go back to their normal life. But that’s an illusion as nothing stopped even though our church buildings are closed. The mission is not those pastoral activities we engage in, those are missionary activities. The mission is the mandate we received from Christ and his Church. The mission is why we are sent out, and every means we take to realize those missions are missionary activities. So, the Church just changed its form as many families gather around the Word of God on their own or around their radio or television posts. All those who think that the temporary suspension of their (traditional) missionary activities is a hindrance to the mission is dreaming. The mission is still ongoing, and the inactivity is a sign of lack of creativity and not a suspension of the mission in itself.
The danger, however, is to think that people will just forget these new ways of being the Church that the coronavirus has revealed to us. They wouldn’t and it would be a mistake to try to go back to the pre-covid19 Church. And to tease some, any minister who might dream of threatening his or her Church members with the refusal of any form of the sacrament will have his or herself to blame. They will simply remind you that they survived the coronavirus time and will survive any form of sacramental deprivation.
In our missions, I am already reflecting on how to move from mission 2.0 to mission 3.0. It is already in incubation, and the final product will be worthy of the post-Covid19 mission.
3. A Reevaluation of the Quality of our Lives
This pandemic has shown us that we have been running after our shadows. We wake up, very early, every day, and sleep very late without being satisfied with our realizations. And each day, we are told that we have to fight to overcome ourselves. Unfortunately, amidst all these struggles, we observe no significant amelioration in the quality of our lives. We are constantly made to act like homo ex Machina, whereas all our endeavours often amount to trying to fetch water with a basket.
Luckily enough, when the coronavirus set in, we all discovered that the world does not stop to turn even when we are all cowed into silence. On the contrary, it became clear that the world breathes better even without our frantic race towards nothing. People now have time to eat together as a family, more time to sleep, more time for strolling, for storytelling, etc.
The danger, however, will be to fight to regain the past time like they were lost moments of our existence.
4. A Spiritual Revival EraMany people have discovered within this time of Covid19 that there are so many things that do not depend on us. Scientists, for example, are still struggling to find a solution to our collective enemy. Some rediscovered that there are so many forms of spiritual encounter. While some just discovered that they can as well, organize a formal family prayer session, others found other new ways of worshiping or deepening their spirituality through modern communication methods.
The importance of meditation, virtual spiritual formation, virtual fraternization, and many other new approaches to virtual spirituality have been widely explored within this moment.
The danger, however, will be to take solace in virtual encounters and spirituality instead of seeing them as alternative ways of engaging with the divine.