Numbers mount; hurried burials mount; communities of grievers mount; undigested information mounts, whipped about in centrifuges with no-turn-off switches.

Like Covid-19’s free-for-all with death, darkness knows no surcease: its opaqueness nails shut crannies of light, known to have helped from previous sources. Alone, stripped of the familiar, making do with what we’ve got, we sink to our knees and wait.

Within this lull, however, comes a blessing, Urbi et Orbi, from a solitary figure, sickly, dressed in white. It is March 27th, night. Floodlights shadow the empty rain-swept Square of St. Peter’s, splayed out before him like an ancient amphitheater.

The photo of this blessing, live streamed by the Vatican, suggests exhaustion, depletion of vital energy, something akin to Ingmar Bergman’s surreal fantasy, The Seventh Seal set in medieval Sweden. Then and now, Catholicism’s fiery heart seems almost extinguished by God’s silence and the black plague devastating Europe.

More than ever, recourse to God through practicing the 12 Steps opens minds and hearts to ultimate truth and love, uncovered in our depths. Inherent within this discipline are Gospel principles that correct, affirm, and direct wayward spirits and help us accept our graced flawedness to enter the Kingdom of God. However, I still weep …

As Peter said to Jesus in John’s Gospel, “Lord to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”