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We are truly living in a time like no other. Throughout the world, school doors are closed, gatherings of anyone outside of your immediate family are strongly discouraged, and churches’ doors are shuttered. This is a time in which we, as faithful, are challenged to continue to adhere to the quote attributed to St. Padre Pio, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless; God will hear your prayers.”
Yet, that can be easier said than done, can it not?
I was recently contacted by Sophia Institute Press, offering me advanced access to a brand new book by author Teresa Tomeo, entitled, Conquering Coronavirus: How Faith can put Your Fears to Rest. I have been inundated with all-things Coronavirus for weeks as I have stayed in my home with my three little ones. I sat on the offer to review for the weekend, expecting to turn down the opportunity because I haven’t written much aside from my random microblogs, and I am just so “COVID-19 weary,” at this point. I didn’t want to read anything more about COVID-19.
Yet, I found myself listening to the quiet whisper in the dark of Sunday night, telling me to read the book, and I am so glad I listened to that gentle whisper.
Written on the heels of her mother’s recent passing, Ms. Tomeo writes words from the heart – as a daughter who has grieved the passing of her mother in a time in which a funeral Mass isn’t even possible. Ms. Tomeo explores the deep impact of this coronavirus ravaging the world, while using Pew Research Center studies to show the faithful how we are being lovingly invited into a deeper embrace with God during a time in which most of us can’t even access the sacraments. Ms. Tomeo issues loving challenges and inspiration to continue to work on our own individual relationship with God, while at the same time, inviting others to explore His love for each of us.
Conquering Coronavirus: How Faith can put Your Fears to Rest took me two days to read, which is unheard of, even in this time of staying safe at home. It is a simple read with a powerful message of hope, inspiration, and love.
Each of the eleven chapters ends with a set of questions which would make an amazing way to lead a faith-based study via our new social-distancing norms of digital communication. Some of the points within the text made me squirm as slight examinations of conscience have a habit of doing. Other points provided just the right amount of thought to chew on as I took breaks to assist the kids with school work, or made meals, threw never-ending loads in the washing machine, or checked social media.
The entire book closed with some amazing words and resources addressed specifically to each of the following categories of people in society:
Those diagnosed with COVID-19
Family members of those who have been diagnosed
Those facing unemployment and financial challenges
Those who are elderly or otherwise designated as high-risk
Health care workers and first responders
Church leaders and the lay faithful
Leaders in government, community, and the media
This book was not a “how to solve.” Rather, it serves as a loving reminder of our call as Christians to use this time wisely – to orient ourselves back to God, and to invite those around us to join us… separately, in our own homes, observing social distance guidance, of course.
In Conquering Coronavirus: How Faith can put Your Fears to Rest, Ms. Tomeo draws upon Scripture, anecdotal stories, current news-worthy experiences, some saintly wisdom, and a plethora of prayers to build a book which will inspire Catholics throughout the world during this unprecedented time. She has truly written a book that is not only physically beneficial with the identification of resources for each of the aforementioned groups, but also spiritually beneficial as we face the days, weeks, months, and maybe longer, ahead.
As Ms. Tomeo writes on page 107, “Know that God loves you right where you are. He also loves you too much to leave you there.”
“Know that God loves you right where you are. He also loves you too much to leave you there.” – Teresa Tomeo
Conquering Coronavirus: How Faith can put Your Fears to Rest serves as a balm for the worried soul right now, for the angry soul, for the weary soul, and for the hopeful soul.
If you give yourself any gift during this time of social distancing, I encourage you to make this book your gift. This book will touch your heart, give your soul some things to ponder, and perhaps provide another lens through which to view this pandemic.
I pray, dear reader, that you and your family are healthy. I also pray that you are finding ways to stay sane. Finally, my prayer is that you will continue to lean with trust in the most loving God, Who is eager to embrace each of us on our individual path toward a deep, everlasting relationship with Him.
Your Sister in Christ,