Suffering and accepting the Cross
By The Hermits, Mar 22 2020 09:03PM
As the Corona virus increases throughout the world, and the terrible realization is beginning to dawn on millions if not billions of people that life is never going to be quite the same again. And as restaurants and entertainment venues are all closing down, together with the Sports world; we see that all these things are idols, which have taken us away from God, and the simple life of the Gospel. We Catholics, and we Christians, are really no better than the pagans and the non-believers. We, in the West, have been saturated with comfort and hardened by hedonism. We have, for a long time, a very long time, been fleeing from suffering and The Cross.
Now in Lent 2020, we must follow Christ on his journey to Calvary, imploring his Mercy, and unreservedly giving out hearts to Him. As I have said often in the past, there really are only two prayers after the Our Father that make perfect sense, namely Our Lady’s Fiat, when she said to the Archangel Gabriel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy Word” (Luke 1.v.38) and Christ’s anguished cry in Gethsemane, so wonderfully described in Luke’s Gospel, when he exclaims, “Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done."(Luke 22. v. 42).
There is a lot of hysteria in certain Catholic circles about people not being able to attend Mass or receive Holy Communion. There are others who worry that they cannot get to Confession. Though these views are understandable, they limit the almighty power of God. People must realize that there are many people who have the last Rites who do not go to Heaven, for they have not truly repented. The thing is to do die in a state of grace, a state of longing to be with The Lord; that is what matters. We must ask ourselves how many martyrs did not have the last Rites. St. Joan of Arc died as a supposed heretic. The Desert Fathers would have known nothing of Sacramental confession, and St. Antony of Egypt was locked up in a disused fort in the Egyptian Desert for 20 years so how did he get regular communion? Then we must consider the millions of Catholics dying in the concentration camps during the Second World War who did not have confession. We must also remember the millions of Orthodox Christians and Catholics who died in the Gulags in The Soviet Union without confession and the The Last Rites. Have the new crop of Catholic martyrs in Africa, especially in Nigeria, been able to have confession and communion before they died? We must, in these sad times, look to our fellow Christians and see how their great faith sustained them in the face of death. We Catholics have become too dependent on the sacraments and our Faith has suffered because of it. It will be our Faith, our Hope and our Charity that will get us to Heaven, for if we receive the sacraments without these theological virtues, it will do us no good. We must with all our hearts and souls want to do God’s will and love God with all our poor, and so often weak, love, and that will get us to Heaven. Above all we must beware of a sort of Christian survivalism. We must accept the Cross as Christ accepted his, as a sign and token of the Father’s will and love. All we need to do is give our will totally to God and abandon ourselves to his loving providence. Everything works to the good for those who love God, as St. Paul says. God is in the midst of our sufferings, he is with us in our dying and if we die with Him, we will rise with Him.
Over the next few months and as long as this terrible virus continues to ravage the world, I will try and share with you words of consolation. Tomorrow I will begin a series of meditations on the Life of St. Joseph, who is not only the Patron of a happy death, but is also the terror of demons. As he is also the protector of the Church, he is the one to look to in these most trying of times.