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The Radiance of SCJM Charism in the face of Covid-19! (Continued)

VIETNAM: WE ARE HOPE FOR THE WORLD!

When I think of hope, I think of a dark place, at the corner of the house, far from everyone’ the eyes, and there is a small ray of light. That is hope!

Life was moving smoothly. We thought ‘all is well and all shall be well’! There was joy and laughter everywhere. Suddenly, we got the news of a little virus called CORONA attacked our beautiful world and whole life came into a standstill. The pandemic did not spare any single individual; did not give any time to get prepared; but yes, life took a very unexpected turn. Everyone was left with their hands tied before this pandemic.

Surviving the virus, living in lockdown, rising unemployment, artificial price hikes and news about unexpected deaths from every corner of the world have already made the future seem very insecure.

In our country the story is entirely different. Truth is safeguarded under the carpet! An announcement was made in public places on taking precautions and to staying safe. At the same time, they left no stones unturned to attribute all honor and glory unto themselves, saying that the whole world is looking upon us and that only this country is CORONA free, and so on. Yes, the Government was alert from the beginning and did take action but what they say is not the whole truth.

Here we are not involved directly in any charitable work. During the period of social distancing we were at home. We were well provided with food, mask, sanitizer and other necessary things. The only thing we could do better was to pray: we prayed for the people affected by the virus and we sent vibrations of peace everyday as we spent time in adoration. We all stayed at home, made use of the time learning different things. Often we shared our thoughts and feelings with one another and felt enriched by it. We became a source of encouragement to one another. But how long?

We were shaken in our faith; fear started to grip us as we heard from different sources that the world population is diminishing; the economy is going down, and the like. No work, no food, many deaths, people can’t move, they die in a foreign land… without their dear ones - what is more painful than that? In this gloomy atmosphere, where is hope? Where is small ray of light?

There was a moment when we did feel low and hopeless.

We began strengthening our inner self. On one Sunday, our Placide community, had a meditation based on Deut. 6:3-9,13b (Listen, then, Israel, observe these commandments and put them into practice. If you do this, you will be well and you will multiply in this land flowing with milk and honey as Yahweh, the God of your Fathers, promised you. Engrave on your heart the commandments that I pass on to you today. Repeat them over and over to your children, speak of them when you are at home and when you travel, when you lie down and when you rise. Brand them on your hand as a sign, and keep them always before your eyes. Engrave them on your doorposts and on your city gates. Fear Yahweh your God, serve Him and call on His name.)

Believing in the power of Jesus’ name we drew and wrote the name of “Jesus” in different forms and figures and put them in and around the house, in the garden, on the trees, on our beds and all possible places. When we did that a thought came to me, “God loves us so dearly, surely He will save us. What we need to do is to have a firm faith in Him.”

All through we experienced the providence of God towards us as a little community. We also were inspired by our benefactors and being aware of the needs of our people around us, we kept a piggy bank and saved some amount from our pocket money and by skipping a meal. We were thinking how to reach out to the neediest.

One day Fr. Andy, an OCD priest, came to us and started narrating the struggle of the Philipino community residing in Ho Chi Minh City. Because of the lockdown they had no job, had no money to pay their rent, nothing to eat, no money for the last rite of a person who died with Covid-19, and many other different needs. We as a community decided at once that our little help would be a consolation to these needy ones, and so we joined Fr. Andy’s community for this purpose. We feel happy that we have become a drop in the ocean - that is, living love in a very practical way and bringing hope to others by helping them honestly and respectfully. No matter what the amount is, sharing it brings in double amount of joy. A small gesture but great meaning. It teaches me a big lesson of generosity. I feel blissful when I think of it. We are not able to do great charitable work but we can do a small acts of love in a great way.

With all these I have realized that hope is within our heart. It shines out through our sharing and charitable work. In the community itself we create a ray of hope to one another by being a graceful companion. I have learned and practiced many good things during this time and so I dare to say: Hope sparkles when love and faith come together. I am a hope. You are a hope. We are hope for one another. All of us are the hope for the world. Let us keep our faith and trust in God that our hope will never be dimmed. Let us pray for one another that all may hear the whispering of the Lord: “I am hope for all who are hopeless. I am the eyes for all who long to see. In the shadows of the night, I will be your light, come and rest in me!

Maria TRẦN Bích Oanh, 2nd year postulant

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