Do you feel like your world is upside-down?
Reactions to the Coronavirus, so far at least, seem a little extreme. Cancelling the NBA season? But, the decline of the stock market is real. Travel bans, cancelled business symposiums, and job lay-offs are real. As Catholics, how are we to respond?
First, let’s admit the reality of what is happening around us. Let’s take these past few weeks’ events as an opportunity for self-reflection. Do that because if your investment accounts and 401k balance are down dramatically, it can cause fear and concern for your future. It can disrupt your financial plans.
So, ask yourself, “In who/what is my faith?” Are you counting on your money to provide for your well-being? If so, your thinking may be like the rich man in Luke 12. He wanted to build bigger barns to store his bountiful harvest. He then planned to rest, eat, drink, and make merry. God had other plans. It is okay to have plans. But they should be held loosely so that God has room to work in them.
That leads to a second question, “What is God doing in this?” Jeremiah 3 tells of the exiled Israelites longing for the days of old when the Ark of the Covenant dwelled with them. But God wants a new kind of relationship with the Israelites. He tells them to think no longer of the old ways, to remember them not.
It does us no good to wish for how conditions were last month or last year. God is at work now. How are we to respond now?
Our proper response is to acknowledge that God will provide. God gives us everything. He is the source of all we are and all we have. He gives us every moment of time, every ounce of talent and ability, and every dime of treasure we have. In humble gratitude for all His blessings, we are to return a portion of His gifts in loving service to those most in need, those most vulnerable amongst us. We do that in the Lenten practices of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. The Corporal Works of Mercy guide us to feed, clothe, house, and educate the least of our brothers and sisters.
When we respond in these ways, we put God first in our lives. And that puts the Coronavirus and other world events and reactions in proper perspective.
If the panic gets overwhelming, meditate on 1 Timothy 6:7-9 “For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.”
Click on the links below to see historic views of the stock market.