Amid global pandemic, take encouragement from St. Paul
Saint Paul’s Letters to the Philippians and to the Romans can be of immense practical and spiritual assistance for us all, especially during this time of our world’s great need for the Word of God.
Blessed James Alberione, priest, publisher, and founder of the Pauline family, received a revelation from the Divine Master while praying before the Blessed Sacrament. Since then, every Pauline chapel throughout the world has the following words inscribed at the altar: “Do not be afraid. I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Be sorry for sin.” May we draw great strength and courage in Christ’s eternal love for us, knowing that we need not be afraid. May our actions, service, and joy for one another sing like a song of light in our present darkness.
“Do everything without grumbling or quarreling, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14-16). Saint Paul’s letter encourages action, suggesting that we should serve one another by offering hope and light versus emptiness and darkness in an uncertain world. This action seeks to proclaim the Word of Life, which is to be shared with one another, as opposed to the Word of Life becoming dormant and stagnant within oneself.
Saint Paul’s labor imitates Christ’s labor. He offers the gift of self for the service of others with joy for the community. Saint Paul encourages us to do the same. Our actions should strive toward sharing in the communal joy of the faith through service for one another.
The words of Saint Paul can provide great strength for health care professionals during the present COVID-19 pandemic; we are called to shine like lights in our world today. Health care professionals are called to share their knowledge, their skill, and their faith while caring for the battle against an invisible pathology, striving to prevent harm to others, advocating for primary and secondary prevention strategy implementation, disseminating both individual and public health protection strategies, and assisting in the physical, psychological, and spiritual care of those who become ill. This remains our professional and moral calling for our communities.
We are called to imitate Christ in both thought and action, as he is our moral model of living. Jesus emulates obedience to his calling through the selfless service of obedience to the will of God the Father. “Jesus willingly emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7-8). Christ’s humble obedience illuminates the way in which we are called to live our earthly vocations.
Doctors, nurses, and health care professionals have implicit contracts with society to care for those in need, whether in the form of education, mobilization of scarce resources, remote telehealth consultation, or direct care at the bedside. Health care professionals serve the community in need; meanwhile, the community is called to action as well by seeking the protection and prevention of harm to one another.
Saint Paul calls for a universal zeal and fervent service in spirit, urging us to “rejoice in hope, endure in afflictions, and persevere in prayer” (Rom. 12:12). May we all pray for the grace of God’s wisdom to give us strength and courage as we continue to pray for the health of the sick, the protection for those who care for the sick, and for the salvation of souls. May Jesus our Divine Master help us live his way, truth, and light.
DIANN ECRET, PH.D., M.S.N., R.N. joined the National Catholic Bioethics Center as the nurse planner and adjunct lecturer ethicist during the summer of 2016. She has 30 years of combined nursing experience in pediatric and adult critical care and in nursing education. She also is a full-time faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson College of Nursing in Philadelphia