Today marks the 34th day of enforced isolation in Ayala Alabang Village. Looking back, I dare say that it wasn’t bad at all. As a matter of fact, I am quite grateful in the sense that the lockdown gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue life-long learning projects, which, otherwise, I would not have been able to do for lack of time under normal circumstances.

Without a doubt, this pandemic has drastically changed my way of life. The curtailed lifestyle has led me to be more introspective. Given the uncertainty of this pandemic, I had to contend with some basic questions – why is this happening; and, what is God telling me? And so, throughout the span of the lockdown till Easter Sunday, I found solace in reading nuggets of wisdom in the sacred scripture as well as participating virtually in online masses, celebrated by Pope Francis. This has kept me away from my old lifestyle of busying myself, say, with meetings to do business deals or, simply, to enjoy the company of friends in a coffee shop or wine bar. Indeed, COVID 19 has changed my daily routine. By the grace of God, my family and I are, thus far, safe from harm.

This brings me to the point of St. Josemaria Escriva in the The Way, which states:

 Point # 4 Don't say, "That's the way I am - it's my character." It's your lack of character. Esto vir! - Be a man! 

The words, Esto vir, indeed seem like harsh words from a father, a mother or even, a wife! It brings back memories, during my high school days, when my mother would wake me up in the mornings so that I could go to school on time. Whilst grudgingly standing up from bed, I would often complain about the constant nagging of my mom. My laziness was indeed hard to overcome. But upon reaching maturity, I realized how foolish I was, slow to react to the crying need to improve one’s character.

To be a man, indeed, is a virtue that speaks not of sheer machismo but rather of having the strength of mind to carry on in spite of danger; or, of having the fortitude to face up with the difficulties encountered without losing one’s peace. The excess, however, would be recklessness due to over-confidence.

During this pandemic, it makes sense to take advantage of the ample time to do some self-reflection to get to know oneself better and be able to identify weak spots that could be strengthened. Given the gravity of the situation, it would be foolishness to just take things as they come. If you sit still, you fall by the wayside.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Aristotle (Source: Brainy Quotes)

Have a good weekend!


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