A Voluntary Death
Father Giuseppe Berardelli was a Catholic priest who served in Casnigo, a small village not far from Milan. He was 72 when he died of the novel coronavirus. But he wasn’t the first. Catholic officials tell us more than 50 priests have died so far.
Yet it is notable that Father Berardelli’s small-village parishoners bought him a respirator so that he might live. Even more notable is that he chose not to use it.
Major news outlets in Italy and the US reported that Berardelli chose to give his respirator to a younger coronavirus patient that he did not know.
I very much wanted that story to be true.
His closest friends, however, have since denied those reports, claiming that the elderly priest simply couldn’t tolerate the ventilator because of preexisting health conditions, so he refused to use it.
I wanted the story to be true because the things we are hearing do not uplift us.
People are worried about dying.
People are worried about their families.
People are worried about food and the economy
and the continuation of their income.
Me, I’m worried that Despair and Depression are gleefully wringing their hands offstage, preparing to make their grand entrance. Do you see them out there in the shadows?
This virus is the enemy of your body, but Depression and Despair are enemies of your soul.
Good News: now that you are aware of their intentions, it will be harder for them to sneak up on you.
I have a shield against Depression and Despair that has always worked for me. Perhaps it will work for you, too.
Many familiar sayings in English are quotes taken from the Bible’s book of Proverbs. But it is the book that follows Proverbs – the book of Ecclesiastes, known in Hebrew as Kohelet – that I would bring to your attention today.
In that short book written by Solomon at the end of his life, he tells us about his efforts and his accomplishments and his distractions and his heartbreaks and about the important lessons he learned along the way.
I am almost as familiar with Ecclesiastes as I am with The Gospel of John. When I need an antidote for Depression and Despair, these two books have always done the trick for me. They alter my perspective.
Some day I believe we will look back, and we will not ask, “How did I die?”
We will ask, “How did I live?”
Do you feel like reading?