Covid-19: A Disease Affecting Body and Soul

This spiritual evil acts by taking away the desire to live from those who are not being called to death.  

Newsroom(08/02/2022 08:15 PM, Gaudium Press) Not everything was going well, but at least some things were, that is until the first months of the year 2020, when humanity was surprised by the worldwide dissemination of a virus that brought everything to a standstill. Hospitals built in haste, doctors, nurses and other health professionals wearing astronaut-like outfits, crowded ICUs, people dying and being piled up, given the inability of funeral systems to cope with all the burials. Bodies being buried in mass graves, without flowers, without candles, without funerals, without goodbyes. And people trapped inside their homes.

Factories, shops, churches, schools, restaurants, bus terminals, stadiums, airports- everything closed. Pharmacies and supermarkets semi-open for the sale of basic and indispensable items. The few people who needed to leave home for any reason, with their faces covered by masks, in many cases were stopped by the police, having to justify where they were going. And, on arriving home from the street, the body, clothes, shoes and anything that was brought into the house were sanitized.

Millions of litres of alcohol gel circulating in small bottles at outrageous prices. Yes, and because there are always those who do well in crises, many did very well in this one as well, from the local seamstress – who specialized in making masks, an article that has become a necessity – to the suppliers of medicines and vaccines, whose effectiveness – of both – is still in doubt. All this, before even mentioning the suppliers of oxygen cylinders and other hospital equipment, and without going into consideration of the many misappropriations of funds, veiled or open.

Yes, the world has stopped and loneliness has never been so felt in the history of humanity. A loneliness that revealed that people no longer know how to be together, which is why domestic violence has increased, many marriages have ended, and mothers went into a tailspin when they had to reconcile home office work with looking after their children. Children who, very likely, were the ones who benefited the most, because in many cases they had regained the warmth of being at home with a parent.

Of course, in the same way that many people moved away, many others managed to get back together again and rescue relationships worn out by lack of time and the rush of life. There are families, and not few of them, who have learnt to live together again and benefited a lot from it. Others had to deal with losses and see their loved ones leaving, without even being able to say goodbye.

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But people also focused on living and doing, and that was also good, because many people learned things they didn’t have time for before, or about things they didn’t even know existed.

And so, two years went by, but never has time seemed so slow and so terrible. We lived under the empire of fear. We all knew that the economy would not survive that long and neither would people, locked up in their homes. So, little by little, the closed places were reopening, people went back to work, children went to school, the faithful went to temples and, of course, the parties soon resumed.

Consequently, it also didn’t take long for the messenger of hell, whose names were once Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Lambda, to transform itself into Omicron and infect whoever it wanted, however it wanted, and whenever it wanted.

“I am not”

All barriers were broken down by this insignificant thing, which we cannot even call a being, because there is no understanding in science about a virus being a living being or not, so much so that it does not belong to the animal kingdom and to any other that classifies living beings. This is how it is referred to in biology books: “viruses are on the threshold between brute matter and living beings, presenting characteristics of both types. There is no consensus as to whether viruses should be included in living beings as a whole. Therefore, these beings are not classified according to the pattern proposed by Lineu. Consequently, they have no kingdom, phylum, class or order.”

In this way, despite being so powerfully mutating and destructive, they are something that does not come to be. We can say that, in opposition to God, the “I Am”, viruses are at the opposite extreme, the “I am not”, and from this we can draw many conclusions...

However, this “non-being” leaves behind a terrible trail of destruction wherever it passes – lately it passes through everything and everybody. When it affects one person, it affects many: the family, the neighbours, the neighbourhood, the city, the country, the globe. Masked or unmasked, partying or reclusive, working or hiding from work, it is no longer known who has and who has not had Covid. The symptoms have changed, becoming lost in the multitude of traces of a common cold, a passing gastrointestinal malaise, and an ache in the soul that no one knows how to explain.

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What, in fact, this thing is capable of doing inside the organisms it visits, nobody knows for sure and, we repeat, there are few who have not yet received such an unwelcome guest, even if they have not noticed.

New psychological phenomenon

Science is now classifying a new kind of illness, a psychological phenomenon that has been christened “languishing”, a term coined by the American psychologist and sociologist Corey Keyes, whose literal translation would be “wasting away“.

Some scholars classify as the “fourth wave” of the pandemic this disorder that produces a kind of numbness of life, a feeling of emptiness, discouragement, apathy, lack of motivation. It does not amount to depression, although it may lead the person affected to it. It is more of a phenomenon, an intimate sensation, but with a collective aspect, which saddens people in a different way.

A lamp, when lit, illuminates everything around it and, when extinguished, equally involves everyone in darkness. That is the power of the coronavirus, the power of darkness. It killed many, unemployed many, bankrupted and destabilized many, and now, even if it no longer sickens us with the force that it had in the beginning – although it still retains its lethal power and is causing a good number of deaths around – this “non-being” is erasing the will to live, not only of those who physically contract the disease in its strongest or weakest version, but of everyone, in general.

The psychiatrist Christiane Ribeiro referred to this new disorder as “not sadness, not tiredness, not depression… It’s more like discouragement, demotivation, the feeling of carrying an invisible and constant weight, a tight heart, difficulty breathing and an empty soul in a body that struggles to find itself again”.

How many of us have experienced or are experiencing this? Something that is not restricted to social class, has no age or marital status: poor, rich, single, married, men, women, religious, laymen, young, old, educated or ignorant people, without even being aware of it, without knowing exactly how to refer to what they feel, and certainly, if they do not give this thing a better name, without even knowing how to pronounce languishing, are experiencing it.

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A virus that affects body and soul

It is a disease that has affected bodies and is now affecting people’s souls, even those who have not fallen ill.

An article recently published in a psychology journal about this new disorder defines it as “a feeling that does not pass, it lasts day after day. It is as if the person were in limbo, in a state of indecision, uncertainty, vagueness and nothing moves them to get out of that place. It’s living in despondency and helplessness.”

And it is not a burnout, because people still display energy, they work, they touch their lives, but they feel joyless, aimless, unmotivated, stagnant. It is a problem of the depths of the soul.

The most worrying thing is that, although at the time of physical pain or the loss of loved ones to a disease like Covid, some rebel; many try to cling to God, rethink their lives, but with this dark side, which sneaks in among people like an almost imperceptible shadow, and envelops them so completely, it is more difficult.

Many people I have talked to, some of them truly Christian and practicing religion, have reported the feeling of an abandonment of God. A “non-being”, something that does not even have life and that only reproduces itself inside another life, is taking away much more than people’s health, it is taking away from them the power of faith.

And this, dear friends, is tremendously more dangerous than something that takes the life of those who are willing to live, because this spiritual evil acts by taking away the desire to live from those who are not being called to death.

We still do not know what to do, how to act and when this will all end, but in those hours, even if nothing seems to make sense, it is the moment when we should cling more tightly to the hands of Mary and the hands of Jesus. Everything passes and this too will pass, because the Lord is in control of everything, all the time.

Afonso Pessoa

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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