“To them that love God, all things work together unto good” (Rom 8:28), including the trials, pains, and infirmities of this life. Even sin, adds St. Augustine, because it is the occasion to pull yourself together, to do penance, and to turn resolutely towards God, the Author of all good.
The evil spread in this world is a consequence of sin, and death is its wages. All the evils from which we suffer—trials of all kinds, mournings and separations, calamities and illnesses—are the consequence of sin, whether it is original sin or personal sin, venial faults or serious mortal sin, the sins of men or the actions of Satan and other evil spirits spread in the air to ruin souls ... This sad reality is a truth of our holy religion.
The Great Pursuit of Our Lives
Carefree, modern man occupies himself by taking on a quantity of duties and obligations, while abandoning what should be his main occupation: procuring the glory of God, ensuring his sanctification, living under God’s watchful eye while waiting to meet Him in eternity.
Indifferent, modern man is busy satisfying his passions and accumulating wealth and goods of all kinds, but neglecting the great business of his eternal salvation and that of his loved ones.
The souls of citizens are now shaped, in their thoughts and their actions, by deleterious doctrines—Marxist or liberal, consumerist or materialist,—which are instilled in them from an early age. Vicious and corrupt morals are publicly displayed, in the name of individual freedom and non-discrimination. So goes the world, until it is lost.
For the time being, the current coronavirus crisis is not turning politicians from this diabolical conspiracy of leaving God out of society’s laws and public and private mores.
So, while the country is adopting measures to fight the epidemic, New Zealand has just completely decriminalized abortion. A mother can kill her child at any time, even until delivery, for so-called medical reasons. Among those possible reasons are diseases such as Down's syndrome, but also a simple cleft lip or clubfoot. The only restriction: after the twentieth week of pregnancy, the authorization of two doctors will be required. The use of abortion to choose the sex of the child—gender discrimination!—has also been legalized.
In France, socialist senator Laurence Rossignol calls for the extension of the legal time limit so that the confinement of the population is not an obstacle for women wanting to have an abortion. The culture of death never lets go. It is feared that once the epidemic has passed, the vast majority of humanity will have learned nothing.
The Call to Conversion
Fortunately, God knows how to bring good from evil. Men of goodwill will know how to go within themselves, to think about the hollowness and fragility of their life, to think about their final end, to recover a sense of prayer, to turn to God with the help of His grace.
But how many true pastors are lacking. With few exceptions, many do not dare to call poor sinners to change their lives, to do penance, and to convert. It’s easier to encourage gestures of solidarity and mutual aid, rather than talk about the just punishment that is coming to strike a rebellious humanity. It is easier to invite the faithful to put a candle on the windowsill than to call them to take up the arms of penance, repentance, and tears. And yet, this is a favorable time, and the Church is in the midst of Lent.
Man was created to know God, to love Him and to serve Him. This is why Christ praises Mary Magdalene, the converted courtesan become holy penitent: “Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:42).
Humanity demands a remedy, a vaccine as soon as possible. But without waiting it begs for a sign, and is already turning toward crazy hopes. You only have to remember the sacred cow urine in India, the therapeutic properties of which allegedly protect against the virus. And yet, to this wicked and adulterous generation, “a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet” (Mt 12:39).
The Grace of a Good Death
Any disease, no matter how terrible, helps prepare for death, the transition from life here on earth to life beyond. The instant the immortal soul leaves his carnal envelope, he is judged by Christ, his Savior and his Judge, rich in mercy but supremely just. Let each man repent and weep over his sins. Let him cry out to the Father like the prodigal son (cf. Lk. 15:11-32). May he chase from his heart any thought of revolt or hatred against God whose Providence rules all things wisely.
COVID-19 can quickly lead to respiratory failure, which requires intubating and being put on an respirator. Do not wait for hospitalization to call in a priest. The best time to confess and receive extreme unction, with the blessings of the Church, is as soon as the diagnosis is made, while the patient is still at home,
Without waiting to be sick, let each person put himself in the presence God and face his conscience. God is patient and rich in mercies. It is time to adjust your life and correct it, to flee vice and embrace virtue, to finally obey God and His commandments: “If you love me, keep my commandments,” says the Lord (Jn.14:15).
It is not the ones who are content with saying “Lord, Lord!” who will enter the kingdom, “but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 7:21). Doing the will of God is what Christ did in His Passion, out of obedience and out of love. He is the perfect model, the example against whom every man will be judged. It is time to follow Him and become His disciple.
Pray for the dying who appear before God each day. And let us pray for the moment of our own death: “My Lord God, even now, I accept at Thy hand, cheerfully and willingly, with all its anxieties, pains, and sufferings, whatever kind of death it shall please Thee to be mine” (St. Pius X).
Fr. Christian Thouvenot