‘Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel; but they did not listen to Moses because of their broken spirit and their cruel bondage.’ (Exodus 6:9) This sentence is almost a cultural parable. Is not it an apt description of the human condition when the human being suffers from an inner loss of energy, the loss of orientation towards the Sacred?
We can see this broken spirit in panic reactions to the spread of the corona virus. Gut reactions, irrational fears, even physical aggression surfaces. People got frightened of someone coughing, or ‘Chinese looking’. The latter being for the media has put an indelible stamp on Chinese people as their country was the origin of the epidemic. Or, think of the emptying of the selves in the supermarkets. People are buying irrational amount of goods.
Let us be careful not to governed by fear or ‘our broken spirit’. This global capitalism, true, has put a ‘cruel bondage’ on us, casing our spirit broken. Yet, our soul is never broken if it reconnects to ‘our better self.’ Where can we find it? We Christians can – and actually have to – turn to the wisdom of the saints. It is high time to resource from the unbroken spirit of Church. We need their peace. Conversing with the writings of our saints will let us transcend the bondages and fragmentations which consumerism enforced on us. (We have thought of it that its underlying language is paralysing fear.)
Facing the challenge of containing the spreading of the virus – this event – is changing us forever. The turbo-boosted modernity, which we all enjoy in a narcissistic way, has been collapsing for good. It will change our life-style and the parameters of the economy in drastic way. Yet the real stake is to come out from this present hell with a renewed spirit.
We will need this unbroken spirit more than anything else. Compassion, solidarity, self-restraint, and self-sacrifice will need to fuel our actions. Otherwise, all the shadows in us will be set free and we can fear a social apocalypse, the cruel survival of the fittest.
I can’t imagine other way than recreating the breathing oxygen of our Lord’s wisdom, of which layers have thinned long ago. Yes, we need the healing Jesus, his miracles and gift of health, and spiritual resilience. Even this healing must come first from within, with the recognition of our ‘a broken spirit and cruel bondage’.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..