Quarantine of Grace


Anna Dunikoski // Tales From the Trenches

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April 3  

During this quarantine, a line that Mother Angelica used to say keeps going through my mind— “We are all called to be great saints…Don’t miss the opportunity….” Like a lot of you, I am sure, I have had my share of struggles as a mom. I have always loved my kids, but I had a hard time staying home when they were little. It was a relief when my youngest started Montessori, and I started teaching full-time.

When the coronavirus surfaced, I was shocked. One day I had hardly heard of it, and the next it was extinguishing life as we knew it. As things first started to shut-down, it crossed my mind one morning just how wild this situation really was. Schools and daycares were all closing…kids were being sent home. All kids had to be home all the time. This so flew in the face of modern society. Surely many parents had never never stayed home with their kids, and yet now there was no other option. What would happen? What would this mean for families?

Families, I thought – that’s a whole other consideration. In recent times we have heard a lot about the “attack on families,” and as a Catholic, I heard a lot about the importance of family. Every three years since 1994, when John Paul II hosted the first one with the theme, The Family: the heart of the civilization of love, the Church has hosted The World Meeting of Families. Church support for family abounds. Even the final message of the Fatima apparitions addressed the sacred role of the family. In it, the Holy Family appears to tell the visionaries that all are called to holiness through the family.

As these two realities coursed through my mind, I realized that even though our society is undergoing a great trial, it could very well be that God’s design is very much at work through this pandemic. We know that he brings good out of evil. It could be his holy will to see families brought together in an unprecedented way at this time. My heart aches and my prayers go out for those who have lost work and for those infected or in serious danger from the virus. Yet as distractions and other obligations fade away, families are left with only one another. I can’t help but wonder, Wow. God created families to be at our center, and in so many ways they have fallen to the wayside—maybe he is allowing this as a moment of great opportunity.

With those thoughts in mind and with Mother Angelica’s words urging me on, during this quarantine I’ve tried to be the ‘present’ kind of mom I’ve always wanted to be. I certainly haven’t always been, but this is my chance…God is giving me this chance. And so, somehow, despite all the struggles and failures over the years, this really has been a quarantine of grace. Our home has seen more smiles, laughter, movies, long family dinners, reading out-loud, prayer, and most beautifully, more love.

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