Fall 2020

The Pandemic: A Sacramental Reading

José Granados

A slew of people have wondered recently how to live the pandemic from a Christian perspective. What sort of light does Christianity offer us to interpret the weight of this event in our history? And to face its challenges? In what follows, I would like to defend the following thesis: the key to understanding the pandemic is sacramental.

In order to see this, we could take as our starting point the pandemic’s epiphanic character, which has been a great sign in the flesh. The pandemic and lockdown have revealed, among other things, the hardship of life when our bodies are isolated from others or when we fear interpersonal relationships, deeply rooted as they are in the body; the need to understand health as a prior gift that is not entirely under our control; the poverty entailed in absolutizing this same health, thus reducing life to mere survival.

All this has been a sign for our generation, for such a way of living the body already prevailed in our society. In fact, society promotes the isolation of the body, a body that keeps its distance and is reduced by man (at least in thought) to an expression of his true “I.” This body cannot serve as the foundation for any sacrament, that is, for any opening of the body that would move man beyond himself. Is it possible that the pandemic, having thus exposed the poverty of such a way of living the body, could reawaken a nostalgia for the sacramental?


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