Many of you might have read the book by Dr. Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning. Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychotherapist who had been interned in the infamous Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. Auschwitz was a place synonymous with death, an extermination camp. In those awful, inhuman conditions, Dr. Frankl would notice that an inmate would get an idea that on a particular day, say February 1, the Allies would come and liberate them. February 1 came and nothing happened. Then Dr. Frankl noticed something strange: that inmate without any apparent reason would just wilt and die.
What had happened? That person lost hope. He lost any meaning to live. To live, besides food and water and basic necessities, we need hope – the hope which as the poet, Alexander Pope, says “springs eternal in the human breast”. When a person loses hope, black despair sets in and the person turns to suicide as an escape.
Humanity seems to be under a dark cloud – the cloud of Covid 19. We scan the papers with dread as we read the rising number of people affected and dying all over the world and particularly in our country and state. We wonder about the future as schools and educational institutions remain closed and the spectre of unemployment looms large. We are worried about the economic slowdown – predicted to be worse than the last economic depression. There is the threat of war on our northern boundaries. Everything seems dark!
It is at such a point, we need hope, to see the silver lining in our dark cloud. The havoc wreaked by Covid 19 has been a terrible one. But, Covid has brought about some benefits too. It has given respite to Mother Earth to recreate itself: our streams are cleaner, free from chemical wastes; our skies are bluer – In Jalandhar, we can see the Himalayan range more clearly! Covid has brought out so many examples of heroism in doctors, nurses and health care workers serving the sick and afflicted. It has given us time to be together as a family. It has given us an occasion to spend time in prayer. A cartoon portrayed Satan grinning maliciously at God: ‘See how, with Covid 19, I have closed all the churches’. And God replies with a chuckle: ‘And I have opened a church in every home’!
At such dark moments, we need to remind ourselves that seasons of sorrow hold the promise of new life. I remember the words of a prayer I once came across:
“O God, ever grant me the grace to see the silver lining to my dark cloud
To feel the healing touch in the sickness that besets me
To have the faith that blossoms through the thorns that choke
To believe in life in the midst of death”.
These days, early in the morning, I go for a walk on our terrace. The sky is often overcast by clouds. But every now and again, the sun ‘peeps’ through the clouds to remind us that it is there. The clouds may try to cover the sun, but they cannot smother it. The sun shining through the clouds reminds us that Truth can be distorted; but never destroyed. Love can be entombed, but never extinguished. It will rise triumphant again.
I began with referring to the concentration camp, Auschwitz. I end referring to it again. In the darkness of the gas chambers, a condemned man scratched on the wall with his nails these words:
I can see the light even when the sun does not shine
I can feel love even amidst all the hatred
I can experience God even when he is silent”
Trinity College with its ever-widening innovations has always strove to reach new heights. My congratulations to Fr. Peter (director)the man at the helm who with his indomitable spirit spearheads the college to new horizon, Mr Ajay Prashar the principal and the faculty members for this novel venture to have the Trinity blog. May their commendable endeavor to Kindle the flame of hope in this pandemic era of anxiety and uncertainty to a wide stretch of people bear abundant fruit I wish all success to this venture to reach out to people.
Bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias