A Question For Our Time

I posed a question to some members of ‘Team Quinn’ this week, in the midst of the pandemic and our (almost) lockdown. What three words would you use to describe how you are feeling right now? Rather than something superficial, there is in fact an enormous opportunity in having a moment of self-reflection. We all managed three words, some of which included bored, frustrated and disorientated!

Behind the words of course, are the feelings themselves, some of which with all honesty are undescribable in the haze and fog of the present situation and, our coming to terms with it all. Perhaps with the passage of time we will be able to look back and describe this situation, and our place in it, with much more clarity.

On Friday evening, drawing on the words of Jesus (from the Gospel of Mark), Pope Francis posed, it seems to me, the most important question of this moment “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (Urbi et Orbi). This question is so powerful and, in the end, surely demands a response as we ‘bob around’ in the boat of uncertainty! We wouldn’t be human if, at this moment we weren’t a little afraid, even if we don’t want to admit it. Almost powerless in front of this disease we are afraid of how this will effect us, our families, our communities, our loved ones. This ‘storm’, as Pope Francis remarked, has exposed our vulnerabilities.

As always, moments of distress and difficulty are also an opportunity, an opportunity for self-reflection and re-discovery. We are very accustomed to navigating our own destiny, but just like the navigators of ancient times, we perhaps realise in this moment more than ever, that we too “need the stars”.

Pope Francis ““Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”? Faith begins when we realise we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we flounder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies”.

Pope at Urbi et orbi: Full text of his meditation


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