François Prouteau : The Coronavirus Crisis


The coronavirus crisis is challenging, and at the same time, I think it is a call for change, for conversion in our way of life, personally and together.

The generalization of the measures of containment, in this mid-Lent, is an opportunity for a time of recollection and prayer of the soul. "Our true life is the itinerary of our soul," wrote Francis Tcheng. 

In this health crisis, we are impelled to open the door of our soul in a new way, towards unknown and destabilizing itineraries, areas of discomfort, solitude or lack of physical contact, but why not also towards encounters lived in a different way.

Because this little virus, Covid-19, invisible, is like a pebble in the shoe of humanity, forced to stop its mad rush, to slow down the march, to remain ... to embrace modes of presence to oneself and to others that combine radical uncertainty and respectful attention. We have to learn to "live" differently, to learn to greet each other with other gestures, to use our telephone even more, to reach out over the airwaves at the speed of electronics, those who are isolated, I am thinking of the elderly. We need more presence that compensates for the distance taken, certainly a sanitary distance, but for more closeness in fraternity, friendship and empathy.

While cinemas, shows, museums, schools are closed, more time for reading is available. In order to reread its classics and to be in the news, the coronavirus has doped in Italy, and to a lesser extent to date in France, the sales of Albert Camus' La Peste. At the end of the novel, the brave Doctor Rieux understands that "there are in men more things to admire than things to despise". The idea is also that even a tragic ordeal teaches, it has a learning effect. Dr. Rieux is a character who really tried to do "his job as a man" in the face of the epidemic. As for Father Paneloux, who at first did not understand the purpose of sanitary cords, he evolved. Having seen a child die from the epidemic, he becomes involved in the cordon sanitaire. Faced with the infectious and virulent disease, he experiences solidarity, a "us" together. 

It is clear that today we must live differently in our spaces and our home, the Earth. The house, the domain itself, habitable and hospitable, the ancient Greeks called it the oikos. This term gave, in French, the words "economy" and "ecology": economy and ecology begin in the same way, they go together, they must be woven together. There will be a post-coronavirus world. We will have to think about this world, rich in lessons for health, economy and ecology, for the living, for living together. From this crisis, we already see desirable effects for the world.

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