Lent time 2020: a season of solitude
- 2020/03/20 -
everything breaks down
my plans
my hope
my wishes
nothing is anymore
as it was days ago
nothing goes on
as it still went on yesterday
If you are the way
show yourself
If you are the truth
don't hide yourself
If you are the life
dont't run away from me
(Rudi Weiß)

And all of a sudden, these present days and weeks turn out to be for us a time of repentance and restrictions, even more so than we might have been able to imagine it ever before. Within two days our plans became obsolete and were reduced to nothing, there are no planes in the air, hardly any cars in the streets, and most of us have to stay at home whether they like it or not. A severe period of fasting has begun for quite a lot of us that have to be very economical given their resources, the little money they have - and in this respect we particularly have in mind a lot of families here in the Near East.
Corona (the Latin word for crown) - for all of us this has been a typical symbol of Lent up to now, referring to the crown of thorns of Jesus. In our Chapel of St. Charles since Ash Wednesday we have had a wooden cross with a crown of thorns, made of the thorny branches surrounding one of the tall trees in our garden. The Gospels tell us that the soldiers crowned Jesus, "the King of the Jews", with a crown or a wreath of thorns to make fun of him before he was crucified. And in the sorrowful rosary we pray "the one that was crowned with thorns".
In the Calender of Catholic Saints there is even a saint with the beautiful name of "Corona". She was a young lady living in the Eastern Mediterranean in the early days of the Church. When she was persecuted and put to trial she stood firm in her faith in Jesus and due to this she was cruelly tortured. They bound her body between the tops of two palm trees in order to hurl her up. Her legend presents one of the many examples that illustrate that man has always been able to invent terrible ways of killing his neighbour in order to eliminate his rivals and enemies.
In these days, however, the beautiful word "corona" has got a completely new significance for all of us that makes us forget all its other meanings, even the "corona", the halo surrounding the sun. Under an electronic microscope the Corona virus appears to be a real beauty because of its jagged crown of rays, but it turns out to be the most deadly threat mankind has ever been confronted with. Far too many people already caught an infection from it and died. Many of us risk their daily lives by taking care of the ill and of those in danger. And because of security measures all around the globe many of us have to stay at home, they lose their jobs, or they are just terrified by what is going on. This Corona virus dominates our daily lives, the news, our talks and conversations, and our interpersonal relations.
As most of you, as the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo we were completely taken by surprise by the course of these events. Our guesthouse is empty, and like all the schools in the country, our kindergarten keeps closed for the moment. We sisters are all well. And we remain confident and strenghtened by our belief in Jesus Christ, in his incarnation, his crucifixion, and his resurrection - particularly in these days of Lent. We keep relying on our expectation that soon with God's help an antidote and a serum will be developed to combat this pandemic successfully and to bring back hope and joy to the people, the young and the old. This is brought home to us when looking at the cross, at the crown of thorns, but also when taking a walk through our garden - and we would like to invite you to join us there by looking at our photos. Jesus Christ has set an example: hope dies last.

We wish you all the very best of health,
and a lot of patience and confidence.
Let us stay together in our prayers -
until we will meet again in Jerusalem.
German Hospice St. Charles Jerusalem - Lloyd George Street 12, 91080 Jerusalem, Israel - Tel. 00972 2 5637737 - info@german-hospice.de