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A COVID Christmas – Juan Guerra – Associate Director of Ministry

January 6, 2021

A COVID Christmas – Juan Guerra – Associate Director of Ministry
Early this December, my 16-year-old daughter came home from volleyball practice complaining of a headache and fever. With the recent uptick of local COVID cases, my wife and I kept a close watch. Over the next few days, there was no improvement so we took her for a COVID test. A positive result put us into a family quarantine. My remaining three daughters and wife went through relatively minor symptoms and recovered nicely. I, on the other hand, began to develop coughing and breathing problems that landed me in the local Emergency Room. Double COVID pneumonia were the dreaded words we heard. That began what was to be two weeks of what I can best describe as a dark night.
What I witnessed in the crowded COVID wing of the hospital, however, was nothing short of heroic. Doctors and nurses, food and cleaning staff worked tirelessly on my behalf. All of the latest technologies were available to me, and given to help me heal. Through all this, I was profoundly aware of the chorus of prayer that was accompanying me. Family, friends and strangers sent me repeated messages of hope.
As Advent began, I realized that this experience was allowing me to look at my life, to make an account. Painful memories and hurts filled my mind. Successes and failures accompanied my sleepless hospital nights. I felt, at times, like Scrooge looking into the darkness and sinfulness of my soul. I realized that the story of a Christmas Carol was really a Catholic experience. In our darkness we realized the need for Christ’s light, if we but ask for it.
Ebenezer Scrooge was shown the abyss and emptiness of his life, but was given a second chance through God’s mercy. So, I emerge back into my world, grateful for my family and friends, my health, my faith and for the light of each new day. I thank God for this opportunity to start anew, on this most Glorious Christmas Day! Let us resolve as members of the Malvern Retreat House community, to take our own spiritual journey to wholeness this 2021, as we rejoice in His many gifts. “God bless us, every one!” 
Although making improvements, Juan Guerra continues to fight the impact of COVID-19 on his health. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

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