WITHOUT HISTORICAL PRECEDENT
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 -- COLUMN 230
CLICK HERE FOR ONLINE VERSION
In a move that is without historical precedent, Cardinal Angelo de Donatis, the Pope’s vicar for the diocese of Rome, announced today that all the Catholic churches in Rome will be closed until April 3, 2020. -- From an article at Lifesitenews entitled "BREAKING: Diocese of Rome shuts down all churches amid coronavirus fears"
WITHOUT HISTORICAL PRECEDENT
For the rest of March, and the first three days of April, Catholics in Rome will not have access to their churches. They are closed. As I write this column I am wondering what grim news Friday will bring to Americans. Yesterday the Dow dropped over 2500 points. It feels like a lot of things "without historical precedent" are about to happen. Uncertainty is rapidly spreading along with the Corona Virus.
The truth is that none of us know the future. On the four desktop computer screens in my office I have displayed this quote by St. Francis De Sales, "Anxiety is the greatest evil that can befall a soul, except sin. God commands you to pray, but He forbids you to worry." Jesus Christ said, "Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
In 1576 Milan, Italy struggled through a plague. St. Charles Borromeo was the community leader for Christians. Dorothy Cummings McLean of Lifesitenews writes, "When the magistrates who governed Milan objected to the (Christian) public ceremonies, arguing that they would spread contagion, Borromeo convinced them that spiritual remedies, like those prescribed by St. Gregory the Great in 590, had stopped plagues in the past."
McLean continues "Borromeo led three general processions that October 'to placate the wrath of God' and afterwards preached about how sins provoke God’s punishment. When survivors became too afraid to leave their homes, their archbishop had Masses and public prayers said at outdoor altars all over the city so that people could participate from the windows of their homes."
Imagine with me an America where Franklin Graham has power equal to, or greater than, that of CNN and FoxNews. Imagine a nation that really believed her motto -- In God We Trust. Imagine a people bound together by knowledge of the fact that God is The Judge of mankind. What would our response to this uncertainty and plague be if we knew that our sexually permissive choices and incessant pining after "our best life now" were toxic, illegal and hateful?
We might then have a remedy in sackcloth and ashes -- repentance. Like Nineveh we would exist in a culture capable of turning all our attention to the heavens for days begging forgiveness from God. And we would do so not knowing whether he would respond in kindness. We would know deep down in our hearts that we deserve much worse than a 2500 drop in the Dow, and the visitation of a plague.
We don't live in that nation. We live in a time and place that may choose to offer greater powers to the deep state to save us. This could end making the intrusions of 9-11's Homeland Security look like child's play in comparison to the top down controls we will demand from government to keep us safe. We are crossing a line that Benjamin Franklin warned against when he wrote, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." And because of the new powers of the internet and technology this grave threat to our souls is global. It isn't contained within national borders.
A pastor preached a sermon recently in which he described what we are living through as similar to an episode from the old television drama "Twilight Zone." He declared that world has lost it's mind and the Church her soul. Indeed.
Jared and I made it back from Florida this weekend. I still feel emotionally and spiritually drained from the Friday funeral of my father. Your prayers are appreciated as I struggle back from that loss. Thank you.