The end of the world as we know it

Is it the end of the world as we know it?  With the spreading pandemic and emergency measures that have put the economy on life support it’s hard to imagine things will go back to normal anytime soon.  Maybe they never will be the same for many of us.

What can we do as Catholics to not only find the peace of Christ ourselves in the absence of public Masses, but also to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and the Love that casts out fear?

Only a few weeks ago, I had booked a flight to Phoenix to visit family.  I cancelled it last Friday.  Just in time.  Many others had planned getaways to sunnier climes for March break.  Some decided to go anyway and are now trying to get home, probably exposing themselves to contagion in crowded airports.

Now it’s hard to imagine a future date when it might be safe to book a vacation.   Summer?  Maybe?  But what about a second wave of the pandemic that some predict might hit in November?   I would not be comfortable booking a flight anywhere at this time.

I have been following the coronavirus since January when news first came from Wuhan about a terrible new form of pneumonia.

Consequently, I began buying a little extra so as to have some staples and canned goods on hand.  Already though, it was hard to find hand sanitizer.  We began taking precautions at church.  Our family doctor parishioner made sure the hand sanitizer dispensers were unblocked and full.  Our nurse parishioner began wiping down the altar rails with sanitizer before Mass.   Everyone was talking about proper hand washing and other precautions.   But now it looks like we may not be having public Masses in the coming weeks—perhaps even jeopardizing not only the rest of Lent, but the Easter Triduum.

Masses in dioceses across North America have been suspended.

Many of us as individuals have experienced the end of the world as we know it through the death of a loved one; a bad health diagnosis; a divorce; or loss of one’s home or livelihood through fire or a natural calamity like a tornado or hurricane.

It is natural to mourn the death of one’s dreams, of one’s projected future before the end of the world as we knew it.  But it’s not productive to dwell on imagined negative future scenarios beyond taking some prudent precautions.   It is not productive to worry, to panic, to give way to fear or anger.

Now is the time to pray and focus on the sacrament of the present moment where God is continually pouring out His redeeming love.  It is time to make a commitment to not only repent, but to continually repent and turn one’s attention on God and turn one’s life over to Him, over and over and over.  It is time to press in like blind Bartimaeus and not quit praying and asking Jesus for help until the Lord has lifted you into the peace that passes understanding.

Avail yourself of the sacrament of Confession and visit the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament if churches are still open.

St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Omaha is offering drive-through Confession on Saturday.

I hope that idea catches on.  And I hope the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham or other ordinariate parishes will offer live-streaming of daily Mass even if they are now private.  Even a simple, said Mass.

And if you’re looking for something to listen to that’s a little different from short hits on social media or the news blaring from the TV, this is an interesting talk by Italian historian Roberto de Mattei on how the Church has historically looked at plagues, famines and war.

And a  link to this piece by Mark Mallett just appeared in my Facebook feed.  Most interesting:

LIKE a thief in the night, the world as we know it has changed in the blink of an eye. It will never be the same again, for what is unfolding now are the hard labour pains before the birth—what St. Pius X called a “restoration of all things in Christ.”[1] It is the final battle of this era between two kingdoms: the palisade of Satan versus the City of God. It is, as the Church teaches, the beginning of her own Passion.

Lord Jesus, you foretold that we would share in the persecutions that brought you to a violent death. The Church formed at the cost of your precious blood is even now conformed to your Passion; may it be transformed, now and eternally, by the power of your resurrection. —Psalm-prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol III, p. 1213

What a time to be alive! Before I go on, I ask for your patience. Because I see the advance of both kingdoms, and thus, both the warning and the hope. Once again, this writing will encompass both. I think proceeding in truth is always the right path, even when it is the hard truth.










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