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Role of faith in God for dealing with the global pandemic

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Dynamic Duo at UVM.pdf

Title

Role of faith in God for dealing with the global pandemic

Description

I will be 78 later this week, am a veteran of the Viet Nam Era, and have lived most of my life in Vermont, presently residing in our stand-alone house here in the village of Sheffield, Vt. as a pensioned retiree since 2008 of the University of California due to my work as a research physicist at one of the laboratories that it managed, in New Mexico, after I earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Vermont (UVM) in 1974.

Some family history: Next month (June 2020) my wife and I celebrate our 56th wedding anniversary. Our only child, a son who has autistic disorder and had celebrated his 55th birthday in Alabama last month, has lived under our roof since 2010 but in his own, separate apartment (converted from an old barn), with his own car and a job (though he is currently unemployed due to the layoff response of his employer to the state of emergency declared by Gov. Scott).

By way of some pertinent personal religious history: I became a Roman Catholic in 1964 in Burlington, Vt. and, though since then my faith in God has waned and waxed, it is strong now even though I am severely disabled, suffer from PTSD-like symptoms, and am in a constant state of stress from various sources.

Still, by the grace of God, I am able to serve others in tiny little ways. In the context of the present COVID-19 outbreak, that service means, for example, buying a few gift cards, leaving big tips, writing out small checks to the needy, advocating for protection of the poor and vulnerable (including potentially safer routine ultrasound use for diagnosis in Ob/Gyn and other medical disciplines, as based on recent research findings), having social interactions online on that and other topics with other scientists doing research for the common good, praying for others in need, staying true to who I really am as God made me to be rather than the self-centered one I used to be, giving Gov. Phil Scott the benefit of any doubts I might have over the pandemic-related restrictions he has put in place over our daily lives, and now putting my own interior house in order as I become more and more aware of my fragile mortality.

Creator

Harold M. Frost, III, Ph.D.

Date

March-April, 2020

Contributor

Harold M. Frost, III, Ph.D.

Spatial Coverage

Text

The following lines comprise the story that was presented by me to The Record, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville in the Roman Catholic Church. The article, "Readers share how they are coping," was posted April 16, 2020, at https://therecordnewspaper.org/readers-share-how-they-are-coping/.

"For the past decade as a confirmed, struggling Catholic I’ve interacted with the Archdiocese of Louisville, including correspondence with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz that led me to reach out to Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of my Diocese of Burlington. That and an ensuing two years’ accompaniment by the parochial vicar of a parish near me provided some rapprochement with the church when, at 77 and fragile with severe cognitive disability, I cannot comply with the precepts, such as the requirement to attend Mass.

"PTSD keeps me from large groups, as at Mass, and fragility limits making prudent judgments needed for valid examinations of conscience. Thus I cannot receive the sacraments. When the coronavirus outbreak became global, our Vermont governor, the Hon. Phil Scott, directed us to self isolate, transforming my understanding of my struggle as God’s blessing preparing me for when almost all Roman Catholics are temporarily dispensed from Sunday Mass and from receiving the Eucharist, thus also suffering. With calmness and confidence, I can still do little child-like acts of kindness and support others to whom the Lord sends me. For that I’m grateful, as Jesus works out our salvation through our service to neighbor, especially the poor, giving us hope for holiness and the resurrection of life."

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Citation

Harold M. Frost, III, Ph.D., “Role of faith in God for dealing with the global pandemic,” COVID-19 Archive, accessed November 27, 2022, https://covid-19.digitalvermont.org/items/show/323.