The Merriam Webster Dictionary recently announced that its Word of the Year for 2020, based on words looked up in their online dictionary, was “pandemic.”
The day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the dictionary showed an increase of 115,806% over lookups on that day in 2019, Elder Jose A. Teixeira of the Presidency of the Seventy reported during a BYU campus devotional on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
The Greek root of the word “tells a clear story,” Elder Teixeira said, explaining that “pan” means “all” while “demos” means “people,” so the word literally means “of all the people.”
“In one way or another, all of us were affected by this unexpected outbreak and medical emergency,” he said.
Knowing what to do in troubled times, however, is an “extraordinary blessing” in the lives of faithful members of the Church. “I personally cannot think of a more sublime blessing than having the constant companionship and guidance of the Holy Ghost and being able to receive comfort, peace and direction from Him in our lives,” Elder Teixeira said.
Quoting the words of the Apostle Paul — “To be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6) — Elder Teixeira promised listeners, “Choosing to be spiritually minded by living a life worthy of the Holy Ghost’s gentle persuasions will provide you guidance in your decisions and protection from both physical and spiritual danger.”
Through the Holy Ghost, individuals can receive gifts of the Spirit. “His communication to your spirit carries far more certainty than any communication you can receive through your natural senses,” Elder Teixeira said.
In order to live a spiritually minded life, Elder Teixeira said, individuals must be in tune with Heavenly Father and the Savior.
In addition, he added, “to love God is to be spiritually minded. Cultivating a relationship with your Heavenly Father in prayer will keep Him in your mind and in your heart.”
Elder Teixeira told listeners they can feel the love of God through the companionship of the Holy Ghost. “When we do the will of our Father which is in Heaven and strive to stay on the path that leads us to Him, the Holy Ghost can guide us.”
Individuals are also spiritually minded as they understand the purpose of the sacrament is to remember the Savior and what He did for them, he continued.
“The promise in both prayers of the bread and water contain the phrase ‘that they [who partake] may … have his Spirit to be with them’ (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79). We endeavor to take the sacrament every week because we want to preserve and nurture our spirituality,” Elder Teixeira said.
To recognize spiritual things is also be spiritually minded. “I attest that spirituality is a blessing of consistent effort on our part. As we seek to learn and follow the promptings of the Spirit, we can more easily distinguish things of God from things of the world,” he said.
Elder Teixeira then asked his young listeners, “Are you developing your spirituality?”
Thanks to Church leaders’ foresight there are tools to assist in strengthening spirituality, such as the Gospel Library app, the ministering program and “Come, Follow Me.”
“We do not need to be in spiritual quarantine with all these resources available,” Elder Teixeira declared.
He then encouraged students to follow spiritual promptings and set spiritual goals. “Remember that your spiritual Liahona works best when you practice differentiating the voice of the Spirit from the voices of the world.”
Elder Teixeira reminded students that the Holy Ghost is calm, clear and comforting, bringing peace and hope.
In conclusion, he testified that to be spiritually minded “is indeed life and peace, that quality of life improves when you are in harmony with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and that God loves you and is mindful of you and your needs now.”