IS COVID-19 CAUSING A SILENT REVOLUTION? By Mgr. Joe McGrath



A REVOLUTION has been defined as a fundamental and sudden change in political, military or social circumstances.

COVID 19 is a serious disease and not a revolution in itself.

But is it too dramatic to suggest that this year 2020- as a result of Covid 19 -is experiencing a revolution of the latter kind- in social circumstances? I think not.

This disease hasn’t yet revealed its full potential to bring about social change, making it difficult for society to mount a confident response.

What is clear is that its effects are eating their way into every facet of daily life, forcing a stunned world to re-assess its normal, traditional patterns of behaviour.

All this quite apart from the fatal nature of the disease itself and the forecasted long-term damage to the health of survivors.

Our immediate and urgent duty is to adhere strictly to all the guidelines in combatting its spread. This will be our reality-behaviour-wise for the foreseeable future. Talk of a swift return to our previous NORMAL life-style would be like “whistling passing a Graveyard”!

While now is not the time to be seeking a silver lining to this cloud,

it is important to latch onto any positive, unexpected outcomes, which might emerge. Some small green shoots maybe breaking the surface even as we struggle with this worrying present.

We seem to becoming more aware of each other, a feature of Irish life that we may have let slip in the recent years of plenty.

Community spirit has blossomed during the tedious ‘lock-down’.

Social-distancing is lessening the urge to “jump the queue”.

Is there a positive reaction to the shock that we are dependent beings and not the masters of our destiny?

Present necessary changes in work practices will likely result in more flexibility in future working arrangements- to the advantage of employees , employers and family and social life.

Traditional practices, which up to now seemed untouchable, may be profitably re-assessed as to their suitability to a new world life-style.

The “Lock –down” and the many other necessary curtailments on accepted freedoms, are creating a new appreciation of those freedoms.

The inability to be with family, to visit the sick and to mourn the dead in our traditional ways, while naturally upsetting, will give rise to a renewed awakening of the importance of people in our lives.

Hopefully our Church too will reflect on our recent experience in planning future liturgies.

This year’s celebration of the Sacraments for the children is a case in point. The more intimate, simpler format hopefully created a memory and also emphasised the real purpose of the occasions – to be encouraged by the love and forgiveness of God in Confession, to welcome Jesus in Holy Communion and to receive the power of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. May these simpler celebrations become the way forward.

As we continue the struggle to eradicate this silent, hidden virus, may we take seriously now and into the future our very clear responsibility to play our part , especially in caring for others . May we build on the important positives lessons gained during this unique period in our lives.

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