In WINE Book Review

Purchase Conquering Coronavirus by Teresa Tomeo
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Teresa’s insights are refreshingly direct and filled with Italian family memories, commentary on saints and Catholic faith, and, most of all, honesty. Teresa is like your Italian grandmother, who comes over to sit down with you because she’s heard you’re not doing too well with the current crisis in your life. She shares her feelings and thoughts, just as if she were in your kitchen telling you she knows all about the crisis you’re having with Coronavirus because she’s going through it herself. You’ll recognize your own self in her comments, as you settle into the conversation. At the end of each chapter, Teresa offers you a question or two drawing you into your own experience of this pandemic. 

The media analysis of COVID-19 has been extensive: implications for health, the disaster of international economies and health care, and even appeals to special saints, along with uplifting meditations and special prayers to soothe the soul of the reader. Yet, families, friendships, lives, livelihoods, large (and small) economies were not only disrupted; they all nearly cratered in the backwash of the virus. 

People, worldwide, struggle each day to make sense of the suffering, sacrifices, and continuing turmoil of the Coronavirus pandemic. That is precisely why this small volume of storytelling and spiritual reflection is so important. The physical affects the spiritual, and the soul has a lasting effect on the physical. So much unknown and isolation living has brought us to our knees, literally and spiritually. 

What to make of it all? Precisely for this question, Teresa Tomeo’s little book, Conquering Coronavirus, presents a most efficient, effective, and timely response to the crisis. An added plus is its enjoyability – at a time when we all need something enjoyable to curl up with to read, meditate on, and even jumpstart our conversations with God as well as our close spiritual friends. 

The reader is deftly but gently led down a reflective path of response as Teresa weaves story and thoughtful questions together, guiding us toward the Catholic response of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. God’s response to humans is always mercy, and we are reminded to do the same. We can be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48). Instead of reacting to COVID-19, Teresa guides us to respond to God, showing us how responding in kindness and mercy to the many difficult circumstances happening all around us can draw us closer to God and can lift others into recovery and hope.

Personal, though not intrusive, the author converses with you about being a conqueror of circumstance. As she asks you about your response to the crisis, she leads you through gentle questions until you take a long look at the asymptomatic relationship you have with the one who loves you beyond all telling.

The life of Jesus is a constant surrender to the creatures He made, even to the point of enduring death, death on a Cross, all to rescue us. In this crisis, Teresa suggests, we should evaluate what we are willing to surrender for our relationship to Jesus. This virus challenge will change each of us; the question is, how? What are you learning about yourself, she asks? What relationship changes will you make with your family, friends, co-workers? How do you want to relate to God through this forced isolation, and beyond? Teresa gently points to the central place of surrender and mercy to God in the circumstances of our lives – to charity toward others in her continuing reflections and questions.  

This was the Lent God wanted us to have, Teresa says, the “Lentiest Lent we’ve ever Lented.” Whether necessary to renew us spiritually, God allowed it, as Teresa repeatedly says, to bring about a greater good: our nestling close to the Heart of God seeking His love and protection. She just simplified the whole crisis thing for me. Ultimately, it’s our closeness to God that conquers Coronavirus, or any other crisis.

Carol Younger, Ed.D.
Rancho Cucamonga WINE Specialist
WINE: Women In the New Evangelization


Purchase Conquering Coronavirus by Teresa Tomeo

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