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 | Carrie Anderson

A Meditation on Coronavirus

Carrie Anderson, a cathedral parishioner, submitted a reflection on her own experience with coronavirus. Several family members tested positive, and at time of magazine production some were seriously ill. Anderson herself fell ill and wrote this meditation during the days of Lent.

I consider it a great blessing to be suffering this Lent with a crowning illness. My own offers of sacrifice and penance are paltry and this trial, Lord, must be designed by you to be especially efficacious in its uniting characteristics.

At first, I suffered with a small sore throat that, had it been worse, would’ve kept me from speaking on my own behalf, but I was still free to complain indignantly. You were condemned while innocent and yet did not use your voice to speak your own justice. In your strong silence, you spoke for mine though utterly undeserved.

The feverishness set in like a small pile of coals heaped on my head, causing a slight flush. It could not at its peak have rivaled the fever of unrequited love that you endured while your precious blood ran cold in total extinguishing self-donation for your beloved who could not and would not love you back.

You spared me the sweats, but I am reminded that your blood began its pouring forth in the garden of your agony because of the weight of self-serving sin, pride that would not trust or obey and that broke the world in the first garden and of which I have fully participated.

Body aches pulsate and draw my attention back to my own weak flesh. They are but a soft whisper in comparison to the savage tearing of your flesh from your kingly bones that left your human likeness ravaged and unrecognizable.

And the headaches that I suffered were severe but brief, a grace in those minutes that left me confounded as to how you bore the crown that penetrated your anointed head with the vengeance of your enemy as he mocked you.

The prolonged weakness I have experienced in laboring up and down stairs to get food or go to the bathroom only to fall into my plush bed shame me. You had no respite from your torture as you trod and tripped with the heavy wood that would be your bed, the bed they would fasten you to with nails.

The chills set in and I shivered fully clothed and wrapped in blankets as you were stripped mercilessly of your robe of glory, your skin and your very dignity and left vulnerable to and for the whole world.

My hands and feet still ache ever so slightly because you know I cannot bear more. And yet you endured the fullness of pain from the spikes that tore through your healing hands and fiercely halted your feet although their mission would be fulfilled there suspended and bleeding.

As the dark approaches, I open my mouth to utter prayers that are less fervent than ever. The cough and irritation come to tell me how you ultimately suffocated, unable to proclaim your love with many words, but rather, with seven perfect ones and the sign of your outstretched arms as evidence.

I get out of bed again to get more water to fight dehydration, and and cold water is always nearby. You hang there and look on as I satiate my every need and you gasp those haunting words, “I thirst.”

The greatest consolation during this meditation has been a sharp and burning pain in my side that comes and goes and faintly pulses with my heart. Although your last breath has been spent, your sacred and pierced heart beats with mine and gives me the life I cannot give myself.

And in a timeless moment on this Lataere Sunday, you gave me repose in the sun. You show your tender love to me in the gentle breeze, and a dove in a nearby tree sang on your behalf a sad but hopeful ballad of peace and joy and love to come.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas,

We fly to you today as your beloved children.

We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,

and gain for our nation and world,

and for all our families and loved ones,

the protection of your holy angels,

that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,

we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.

Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,

wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,

teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.

Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,

knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,

health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,

keep us in the embrace of your arms,

help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.