To contextualize, I’ll first summarize what we’ve talked about over the past two days…
I called the outbreak of this pandemic a permission from God, which is to be understood as a rebuke from Him, so that we may seek Him, turn from the ways of perdition and choose the way of truth.
Many things in the world are seriously failing, and not a few people are in danger of losing even their eternal salvation, and of spending their earthly life far from God. In God’s place many “substitute gods” have been placed, and often sin is no longer recognized as such; it is relativized and, in the worst case, even considered as a positive development. Who still seeks the truth?! How much confusion!
I also spoke about the response of the Church’s representatives in this crisis situation, who often subordinate themselves too early to the ordinances of the State, without ensuring that the faithful can continue to receive the consolation of the sacraments. In the proclamation, very little is said about the core of the matter; that is, the call to conversion.
This is not surprising, since, unfortunately, the transcendental dimension of the Church is fading away more and more. Particularly in this Pontificate, a change of direction was undertaken that continues. Issues that, although important, do not have the first rank were placed in the foreground. Instead, the essential themes of the Church seem to be emphasized less and less. When we speak of sin, we do so primarily in relation to the environment or to migrants, or in relation to love of neighbor.
In these circumstances, where will the strength to face such a plague come from in the Spirit of the Lord, if one does not even come to the correct conclusion that, by allowing the pandemic, God is calling for conversion?
What, then, are we to do?
First of all, we need to have clarity about the situation from faith, so that we do not remain in the dark or without guidance regarding this pandemic. If God allows it – and we know that nothing happens without his permission – then he pursues with it an intention of salvation. The concept of “reproof” is quite correct, because God wants to point out the right path. Since He always wants the person’s salvation – even if we do not always understand it that way at first – we have to learn to accept the situation properly, as coming from God’s hands. In this way we will not be confused by the powers of evil, which want to take advantage of such circumstances to sow chaos, both on the inner and the outer level.
We must learn to deal in the Spirit of God with our emotional reactions to this crisis: fears, insecurity, various fears and worries, rebellion, etc. Even if we are dismayed at the sudden restrictions on personal freedom and, even more so, at the almost unbelievable loss of access to the sacraments – a reaction that is certainly more than understandable – this dismay must not dominate us to the point of leaving us paralyzed and making us “men of little faith”.
Even if we consider that the measures of the State are exaggerated – which here and there they can indeed be – and even if we are much more disappointed and saddened by the fact of having little or no access to the sacraments, we must bear in mind that God has included all this in His plan.
We must not just lament the circumstances, but we must learn to see how the Lord forms and prepares His faithful also and precisely through such a plague.
It is certainly essential to offer this suffering that we have to bear as a sacrifice. But let us think that those who do not have faith have even greater suffering to bear. To whom can they turn, especially when the pandemic is rampant? To whom can they turn with their fears?
It is very painful for us not to be able to receive the sacraments, especially considering that there might be alternatives. But this is where we have to take an important step: If we are deprived of the sacraments through no fault of our own, we must learn to activate other dimensions in our spiritual journey and practice.
We cannot rule out the possibility that we will suddenly no longer be allowed to attend public services, as is already happening with the current pandemic. We do not know what else awaits us! Therefore, we have to draw the right conclusions and take the right action. It is not only about ourselves, but also about being in a position to help others, because who else but the faithful will be able to offer a helping hand to those who are disoriented?
In such circumstances, our faith must rely directly on God. This is a lesson for the present time. We can be denied access to the sacraments, but not extinguish our faith.
Let us keep this for today:
First of all, it requires a proper understanding of the situation in the light of faith. Then, it is necessary to take the corresponding steps to accept the situation as coming from the hand of God, and to bear the suffering in faith.
If it is not possible to have access to the sacraments as usual, we must activate and strengthen other aspects of our spiritual life.
We will return to the subject…
One last note before closing:
I’d like to remind you of the song Harpa Dei recorded and uploaded to YouTube; a song composed and sung in the Middle Ages, in the context of a plague. We recommend listening to it and welcoming it as “spiritual medicine”, and sharing it in the same way.
And we have also uploaded a Traditional Holy Mass, celebrated with the form for times of epidemics. Here too we recommend welcoming it deeply in one’s heart and sharing it…
Harpa Dei accompanies the daily scriptural interpretation or spiritual teaching of Br. Elija, their spiritual father. These meditations can be heard on the following website www.en.elijamission.net