What does it mean “to hope” in the time of Covid-19?

Social distancing and isolation put into our hearts nostalgia for everything: for a walk as well as for a hug, for a cappuccino at the bar as well as for a movie at the theater.

It is memory that is turned into desire. They are the images of the past that push us to imagine the future. We are nostalgic for habits.

But we cannot nor must we stop at this ephemeral feeling.

If we want it, in fact, it is precisely nostalgia that causes expectation and hope.

This time in which we are closed up in our homes must help us to think of the future. We had a normal life because it consisted of habits and because it consisted of surprises. Now the horizon of habits and surprises is changed.

And we ask ourselves if also our normality is changed forever.

Will the hope be the simple desire foe “normal” to return? A bit yes, it is so. But if we want to make the restlessness we feel profitable we must experience it with inventiveness and creativity.

Creativity must manifest itself in the opening of windows there where there are walls. It isn’t easy to cultivate hope staying closed up in the house. But it can help us prepare for better times. Like a spiritual retreat.

Hope means taking care of a future that will come. The past is the root. It is the wisdom that has been handed down to us. But we must also make what once was called an “examination of conscience”, that is we must realize that we have made mistakes, that what we have done is no longer convincing and has lead us to all of this. We did not take care of the environment, of the many “stripped”, that is of the poor people. We allowed ourselves to be carried away be divisions.

When the future comes, it will do us good to remember what happened to us, then. Hope is having a care for the now, but for the tomorrow. All of this with creativity that does not seek alienating evasions.

Downsizing at home doesn’t mean constricting the spirit, but putting it to the test with tenacity, with an interior workout. It means, for example, being interested in the world in a time the virus is paradoxically uniting us all, we human beings of the planet Earth.

A motto attributed to Ignatius of Loyola states: “Not to be restricted by a larger space, but to be able to stay in restricted spaces. This is divine”.

Director of La Civiltà Cattolica @CivCatt, Consultor at Pontifical @VaticanCultura, Board of Directors @Georgetown University. Jesuit.

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