By Mother María Amador, PCM
One of the most important things I have learned this year is that life itself is a lesson through which we learn every day.
In April, when the pandemic was still new, I experienced fear — fear of getting sick, fear of dying, fear of my mom or one of my siblings getting sick, and fear of not getting another job. The breakout point came up when someone from my community got infected by COVID-19.
I thought, “Well, the monster, finally broke through the safety of my sweet home.” I found myself feeling hopeless. However, that breaking point brought me the understanding that something else was missing in my life. I wasn’t appreciating many things and I was taking things for granted … even my faith. Moreover, I had given importance to many things that weren’t important at all.
My faith in Jesus Christ and being part of a community of faith were the cornerstone for rebuilding my life under other premises. I realized that whether due to a lack of time or too much stress in my everyday life, I did not give enough time to myself and others.
During this pandemic, I have made room for my everyday personal and community prayer, I have made space to talk to my loved ones, and room to read more of the Bible and spiritual books. I did not know that I could be happy with simple things such as contemplating, through the window of my living room, how the sun has the capacity to make the trees look golden, how life itself continues its new pace. I realized during this time that I can be happy playing Parcheesi, cards, or Monopoly with my 76-year-old mom and working out at home to improve my health.
I know for many people this has been a year of “purgatorial isolation.” However, 2020 and the pandemic have taught me to love, listen, care, and serve — everything contrary to the purgatory. As a religious and member of the Preachers of Christ and Mary, I found new ways to open new virtual and remote spaces through which other Catholics have the opportunity to share their feelings, read these difficult times through the lens of our faith, and find hope, strength, love, and peace.
That is why, as this bitterly hostile and virulent year reaches its end, love is the word to celebrate Christmas in a very different mode, and hope is the word to receive this new year of 2021.
Mother María is the founder and mother superior of the Preachers of Christ and Mary.