Patriarch Daniel has addressed the faithful in a video message stressing that “the state of pandemic calls us to transform suffering into hope and isolation into a desire for more communion among people.”
Please read the full text of the message below.
The spiritual message in times of pandemic: full text
The pandemic caused by coronavirus is a surprising challenge in health, social, political, and economic fields, both nationally and internationally.
Due to the pandemic, state authorities have imposed strict measures of social distancing, isolation, and quarantine, which greatly change people’s lives and activities.
This pandemic has caused and still causes a great deal of panic, fear of becoming sick, and fear of death.
That is why the state of the pandemic calls us to reflect more and more intensely on the importance of human life and health on earth.
In this sense, the Holy Scriptures tell us that life and health are gifts from God – the Creator for human beings, but these gifts must be preserved and cultivated responsibly.
The book of The Wisdom of Solomon teaches us that “God did not make death, neither does He have pleasure over the destruction of the living” (1:13), but “by the envy of the devil, death came into the world” (2:24), when the forefathers Adam and Eve, through disobedience to God their Creator, have broken communion with God, the One Who is the Source of life and health (Genesis 3:1-6).
Consequently, step by step, diseases, and physical death appeared, as well as disruption in nature with negative effects on life. However, the love of God – the Creator for humanity and for all creation remains constant in history, because God wants to free the human being from sin as a selfish way of life, from sickness and death.
In this sense, our Lord Jesus Christ has healed many sick people, and then He Himself went through suffering and death, in order to overcome death from within it through the Resurrection and to give all human beings the possibility of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:22).
From this perspective, the humans being’s life on earth makes full sense if it is understood as a time of the people spiritual preparation to enter into God’s eternal love and joy, if the people have loved God and their fellow human beings during their earthly life (Matthew 25:31-46).
At present, the state of a pandemic could be also understood as a test or a verification of the spiritual state of people, especially of the intensity of their love towards God and fellow human beings.
In the pandemic state, prayer is a spiritual source of peace and hope, while spiritual and material solidarity with those who are suffering is a source of courage and joy.
The state of pandemic calls us to transform suffering into hope and isolation into a desire for more communion among people.
Especially now when the world experiences a sad and difficult period due to the coronavirus pandemic, we need stronger faith, help to restore our health or to protect us from sickness.
In this sense, prayer to God, the Healer of our souls and bodies, Who is the source of healing, is meant also to strengthen us in faith, to multiply our love for God and our fellow human beings and to give us hope that we will pass through this trial with His help.
Today, in the context of the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, when we see so many signs of illness and physical death around us, we all have to pray to God for all sick people, but also for all doctors and healthcare personnel, for all the volunteers who help the sick and the isolated, as well as for all those who work with devotion for the health and the wellbeing of human beings affected in a way or another by this pandemic.
At the same time, the love that comes forth from prayer for those who fell asleep in the Lord is stronger than death. Praying for those who reposed in the Lord is an act of faith, hope, and love.
Therefore, even when we are deprived of physical participation in the religious services, we should communicate spiritually with God through prayer, by listening to and reading God’s Word, by listening to church services and through many merciful actions, including forgiveness of our neighbours and reconciliation with all those we have upset so that to show our great love for God and others.
In this context, the Church is in pain, as its servants and the faithful cannot pray together in the same church, in the same place of worship.
In this sense, the faithful’s homes from each parish become family chapels united in prayer with their parish churches, professing their common faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Life and health are Gifts or Blessings from God. He is the only One Who is permanently devoted to His people, never betraying His children, since He is a loving, helping and forgiving Father of all humankind.
At the end of this pandemic, we trust that God will enlighten all people to better understand that only through faith, hope, and love, expressed in good actions for other fellow human beings, the times of trial and suffering can be overcome and His peace and joy can be felt.
Patriarch of Romania
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro