Patience and prudence

If patience is a virtue, it is among the virtues being sorely tested as the shutdown of the nation’s economy and the closing of churches to fight the coronavirus pandemic approaches the two-month mark.

The signs that patience is wearing thin was in evidence this week as protesters began to gather at state capitols demanding that stay-at-home restrictions be eased. Meanwhile, we received an email titled “Unlock our churches.” The writer sought to allow the faithful to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament while practicing social distancing.

One can only imagine how difficult it was for Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC  — six months after devoting his annual Festival Letter to the “The Real Presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist and calling for 2020 to be a special year of teaching and witness regarding the Blessed Sacrament — to suspend public Masses and lock church doors, especially as Lent gave way to Easter. That he did so “with great sadness,” to quote his mid-March letter, is probably a vast understatement.

“We are not experts on contagious disease,” Bishop Jenky told The Catholic Post after bestowing a blessing on the entire diocese via a helicopter on Good Friday. He expressed gratitude for the “prudent advice” of medical experts as decisions are being made.

Prudence is defined by the Catechism as “the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” We would all do well to pray for and practice prudence as well as the other virtues (justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope, and charity) as this historic time continues to unfold.

And patience, too, especially with one another. We may all be in this together, but every household is experiencing this in a different way. Be especially kind in the coming days and weeks. — Thomas J. Dermody

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