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A spring sampler of poignant quotes, scriptures and epigrams, all with an eye to understanding and getting through the devastating COVIC-19 pandemic plaguing the entire world:

“We don’t fully appreciate the blessings given to us until we are deprived of them for a season.” — Fr. James Coyle, pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church in Birmingham, Ala., during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which closed churches all over America.

“The worst times can bring out the best in people.” — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

“We need to manage what is unavoidable so that we can avoid what is unmanageable.” — New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

“Nobody should be shaking hands right now.” — Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top U.S. infectious disease authority at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“Don’t be selfish. Don’t pretend that you’re the only one in the world. What you do affects other people.” — Mattia Ferraresi, Italian journalist who covers the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Gun sales are way up. What? Are you planning to shoot your neighbors if they come for your stockpile of toilet paper?” — Heard during the global TV fundraiser to help victims of the pandemic.

“The first law of ecology is that everything is connected to everything else.” — Barry Commoner.

“Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found.” — An early Christian prayer, often used in Taize’ song and meditation services worldwide.

Let’s take heed: “If my people who are called by my name, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.” — 2 Chronicles 7:14.

“This is a time for (global) cooperation, not hyper-nationalism.” — Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“Even in darkness it is possible to create light.” — Elie Wiesel

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” — Traditional American proverb.

“Do small things with great love.” — Mother Teresa

A friend in Iowa , Karen Williams, who misses baseball, has taken to watching birds fight over grub as daily entertainment. She reported: “Saw a pack of them fighting over worms the other day. The Cardinals were leading the Blue Jays, 3 to 1.”

“Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” — African proverb.

A favorite quote from an American-born author who wrote frequently in French. “Rien nous est jamais du.” (“Nothing is ever due to us.”) — Julien Green.

“When the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.” — Rumi (13th century Sufi poet and mystic).

Where is God in this pandemic? It is the same question that has been asked countless times in the midst of wars and great natural disasters and in the Nazi death camps during World War II. Many scriptures apply. Here are two:

“Beloved, do not be surprised if a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you are sharing in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed, you may also rejoice exultantly.” — 1 Peter 4: 12-13.

“In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” — Luke 1: 78-79.

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In my column of April 28, the state with second highest total of coronavirus cases and deaths was actually New Jersey, not Illinois. At that point New Jersey had recorded 111,000 cases and over 6,000 deaths, second only to New York State.

John Patrick Grace has been sheltering in place. He says, “Pray for essential workers; if you are not among them, stay home!”

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