As I’ve mentioned in these posts before, I struggle a bit with the virtue of Hope. As a result, I don’t always cope well with situations in which I can’t make sense of what is happening, come up with a plan, and take some semblance of control.
As a result, the past several days have been challenging for me. COVID-19 coronavirus is pushing all my buttons.
I reached my lowest on Monday evening, after working for a few days straight on nothing but parish communications around the virus. Monitoring social media and other websites became overwhelming, and the world seemed to get hazy. I wasn’t present for my family; I knew it, and so I stepped away to pray. Providentially, a friend had shared a powerful video of a priest preaching our divine authority to implore God’s protection with the passion and powerful name of Jesus.
I hit me knees and began to pray, invoking the holy name of Jesus again and again. It occurred to me in that, for days, the name on my lips, on my screen, on my keyboard, hundreds and hundreds of times, was coronavirus, coronavirus, coronavirus. But each time I said the name of Jesus, the haze lifted, my spirit rose, my heart settled in my chest.
That’s the first little thing that helps: the name of Jesus. Now each time I see or speak the word coronavirus, I at least silently invoke His name: Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Come, Lord Jesus.
I’ve also noticed situations in the past few days in which these current challenges along with the zeal of the faithful combine to cause division in the Body of Christ. The Enemy is expert at riding us in the direction we want to go—so, for example, as news began to circulate about dioceses across the country suspending Mass, people with genuine love of the Eucharist began no only expressing their sorrow at the possibility or the hope that Masses would continue, but to question the goodwill, judgement and courage of our bishops and pastors. What began as a beautiful devotion to the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament starts to foment division in the One Body of Christ.
This is not to say we cannot question the decisions of clergy—but it is important to remember that the Devil divides; he cares not how. We must guard against that division. We are blessed with good, holy and well-formed priests and bishops who are taking their roles seriously. They know Who the Eucharist is, and they understand His importance to every soul. Let’s support them, and each other as best we can.
That’s the second little thing that helps in times like these: unity. As events unfold in the coming hours, days and weeks, may we take up our crosses and follow our shepherds in holy obedience—as one.
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Blogger’s Note: This post first appeared as part of the Wednesday Witness blog series on the St. Michael Catholic Church website.