Nearly every daily newspaper and all of our virtual homilies speak of hope beyond this pandemic’s impact.

Hope is our heart’s hold on courage believing that what is not yet will return soon. And as we inch beyond our secured doors, we carefully step toward some social security that can be healthful living for all.

These weeks have surely tested our resolve. Yet they have brought us some important lessons useful for our forward motion.


Some years ago, a friend suggested I read a new publication entitled, “Divine Renovation.” That expression sits with me these days as we anxiously resume our “new normal.”

If we’re honest, the lives we knew before all this fear were not really all that safe and secure. That “normal” had its significant flaws, leaving some out, often forgetting God, building on winners and losers and striving for economic kingdoms that surely would fail.

And, in contrast to that frenzied house of cards, in these hunkered down days we’ve built some

nonimagined communities, the most significant of which is the community of the vulnerable.

Who would ever have believed that we might plumb the depths of communion, becoming one body, through something as unlikely as a super bug virus?

The great command, “Love one another as I have loved you,” has been given new life. It has become more visible in our greater connections, our care for the elders and isolated and our sacrifices for the sick and the dying. Those with an abundance of resources are distributing them for the world.

The most committed, at great risk to themselves, have confronted the enemy. Loved ones have known care from long-distance family and side-by-side strangers. Acknowledging everyone, we honor their lives from afar or across the street respecting their right to health and happiness.

This greater breadth of personal hospitality is something of our own “Divine Renovation” of care. Rather than racing toward personal economic nirvanas, sometimes beating out or using others for our gain or forgetting some altogether, perhaps our new normal will include the most vulnerable.

Living authentically from a moral compass challenges us to prioritize our real values: The family, our faith and all people.

Everything depends on us, our choices for others and the environment. This slowdown has given us time to simplify, identify and appreciate the great inner connectedness of everything. And most of all, many of us have prayed, returning to God’s grace that always awaits us.

Taking a moment to give all our greatest heart worries to the One who sustains us is the best starting point for a “Divine Renovation” of our world. On these days before Pentecost, may we continue to live at home and in the marketplace from the Spirit of God that cares, simplifies, appreciates and loves each and all through one another.

Zeckser is a member of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Dubuque. She volunteers in prison ministry with the archdiocese.