Camino de Singapore: Responding to Fear and Uncertainty

Photo by https://unsplash.com/@mganeolsen

The COVID-19 situation has engulfed humanity in chaos. It brought about many changes in our lives at home, at school, in our communities, and at work. We find ourselves having to adapt to a ‘new normal’.

Many of us, including myself, are still coming to terms with what had happened. In our efforts to find our way around, our lives have slowed down, with each moment playing out like a scene from a slow-motion movie.

According to science journalist Zaria Gorvett, our action and reaction are significantly slowed in high-stakes circumstances: “the most natural human response in the face of danger is to simply do nothing”.

Well, doing nothing might preserve status quo, and in some ways allow us to retreat into the solace of our own cocoons until we deem the situation safe enough to venture out again. But is this response consistent with the call by our Lord to have courage, be not afraid, have faith, trust, and take the first step out (cf. Matthew 14:27)?

Jesus walking on water is not without significance. The sea symbolises the chaotic times we are currently in, and His walk symbolises divine dominance and control over everything; God is in control.

Applying the biblical story to our own lives, these questions beckon: do we choose a life that is ruled by our feelings of fears and uncertainties, or one offered for the glory of God through meaningful, Christ-centered living (cf. Against Heresies, Book 4, Chapter 34, Section 7, St Irenaeus)?

Do we succumb to the vicissitudes of life or, like David Hoe and Francesca Wah, overcome hardships to help others who are gravely affected by the pandemic?

How can we live more meaningfully to show the love of God to the people around us? It is not that difficult perhaps. Let us start by being present.

“Prayer for Presence” by Richard Rohr, OFM

Let us be present to the now. It’s all we have and it’s where God will always speak to us. The now holds everything, rejects nothing and, therefore, can receive God too.

Help us, God, to be present to the place we most fear, because it always feels empty, it always feels boring, it always feels like it’s not enough.

Help us find some space within that we don’t try to fill with ideas or opinions.

Help us find space so you, loving God, can show yourself in that place where we are hungry and empty.

Keep us out of the way, so there is always room enough for you. Good God, we believe that you are here and your presence gives us hope.

We thank you for each day of our lives. We thank you for so many further chances to understand, to forgive again, to trust again, and to love.

We thank you that we live now, that our problems are soul-sized.

We ask that you teach us and lead us, that you put the thoughts into our mind that you want us to think, the feelings in our hearts that you want us to feel.

Reconstruct us. Put us together because we don’t know how to do it ourselves.

We trust that you are hearing this prayer, and that you care for the answer more than we do.

We pray therefore not alone, but with the whole body of Christ in Jesus’s name.

Amen.


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Jacob Soo is the Formation and Membership Executive at Caritas Singapore, and serves at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. He finds joy in strong cups of black coffee, Catholic spirituality books, and conversations on the faith.