God is love, and love is about relationships. The Most Holy Trinity is the “pure relationship” of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Created in the image of God, we are also created as “relational beings,” and from the beginning, we are born into a world of relationships that make us who we are. The family provides us with our first experience of relationships and therefore of love. The family is the most important institution in forming our relationships, attachments and personality.
Our family relationships have been put to the test by the coronavirus crisis. Suddenly, families had to spend long periods together at home. It was both a challenge and an opportunity to forge something precious out of all this time spent together. The emergency also tested our relationships outside of the family. Although this has been, in many ways, a time of great solidarity, it also distanced us from each other. We could be easily tempted to see our neighbour, not as an image of God, but as a danger, as a potential carrier of the virus. On the one hand, the immense possibilities offered by the modern means of communication have helped us, during the crisis, to maintain close contact with our family, friends and even the Church; on the other hand, with the virtual world of the Internet there comes the risk that our relationships will become less personal and more superficial. Even our relationship with God cannot be lived online, but needs real presence and communion.
Whoever learns to live in a genuine relationship of love with God, with their neighbour and with the world, becomes a saint. Let us ask ourselves, how do we behave towards God who never stops loving us, even though we often live as if he does not exist? What about our relationship with others, with our family, the world and ourselves? Thanks to modern technology, we are connected to each other as never before. Yet so many people lack real interpersonal relationships. Excessive use of social media changes our perception of reality: it can turn us into narcissists, erode the spirit of empathy and the capacity for independent thinking, create dependencies, make people apathetic, and destroy the perspective of eternity. The challenge is to use these means of communication in moderation, with a sense of proportion, and above all to nurture personal relationships.
Dear friends, let us take advantage of this period of pandemic as an opportunity to foster genuine relationships. Let us relearn how to listen to God, to listen to one another, and above all give special attention to our children. Let us take time to pray, to reflect, to read. Let us make an effort to build relationships with our children, by playing games with them or reading to them. This will bring our lives into line with the reality of divine love and then we will feel real empathy for all those who need our help.
With my grateful blessing on you all,
Father Martin Maria Barta Ecclesiastical Assistant.
Featured Image: Fr Martin Barta. Photographer: Bruno Barata
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