Posted by: Thomas Richard | March 29, 2020

The First Step Toward Defeating Coronavirus

COVID-19.  Why?  When will it be over?

First, “Why.” The question “Why?” is very, very important. If we can truly, deeply understand why God even permits such evils as suffering and dying in His creation, we can begin to understand when it can be over – when God can permit it to be over.

This article – “the First Step” – I hope to be followed by “The Second Step” – so keep that in mind as you read this.  First steps, however, are very important.

If we look to Scripture – God’s word of revealed Truth given to guide us to, and into, Jesus the Son – we learn very quickly the root cause of suffering and death: it is sin.  Adam and Eve were created in a world without suffering or death, and were given one boundary to their freedom: a tree having fruit they must not eat.  To Adam was given One Law.  One rule.  One boundary.  And the penalty was given as well, if he were to transgress: 

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Gen 2:16-17)

The root cause of human suffering and death is human sin. God revealed more, explicitly, concerning the effects of human sin in all of creation: man’s embrace of sin, his love of sin to the exclusion of God, infected the whole of God’s creation with a fundamental, foundational disorder.  The whole of creation: the universe, the cosmos, was placed under a bondage to futility, to decay, an interior corruption at its very core.  This was revealed to St. Paul:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now;
and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom 8:18-23)

Covid-19 was permitted by God, to awaken us once more to the grave and urgent problem, and the problem is not “merely” covid-19, nor is it the problem of viruses in general or lethal bacteria or mortal diseases or ultimate death.  The problem is sin.  The problem is the love of sin, even to the exclusion and rejection and rebellion against the God who created us — for much much more than a few years on earth, with or without money, a nice home and family, health insurance, unemployment benefits, federal bail-outs and the war against terrorism. 

Our greatest and ultimate problem, our ultimate enemy, is sin.  Covid-19 may well one day be defeated – but there will be another, and another, until God’s call to humanity, into true holiness, is accomplished.  “Thy kingdom come!  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

God’s Solution

God’s solution to sin has begun.  Jesus defeated sin on the Cross; He defeated death in His Resurrection; He defeated the love of sin to the exclusion of God in His Ascension,  when He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His Church.  His Church at that moment – when the Holy Spirit was sent and received – became not merely one more well-meaning group on the earth of weak human beings.  His Church became the enduring Presence of Christ sent now into the whole world as His saving witness of holiness, of personal embrace not of sin but of God, the door of salvation for all mankind.

And so why can’t we simply say, “Problem solved!”  “The problem of sin is taken care of!”  No, the problem of sin is not “taken care of.”  Sin continues to be loved and embraced, to the exclusion of God, in the world and even within His Church!  Even within His Church, the problem of sin is present and active; the power of death continues to work among us, even here, in His Holy Church and therefore throughout the whole world.  The problem of sin remains and therefore the problem of the consequences of sin continue: suffering and death continues.

  • We do not seek Him – and His holiness! – above all else.  
  • We do not love God with our whole heart and mind and soul and strength.  
  • We do not take up our cross daily, with patience and holy charity, and follow Jesus.  

Lent is an excellent time to strive for a deep, heart-felt longing and commitment for repentance and renewal in Christ.  It is a time to turn from the world, and the things and loves of the world, to God – to holiness in His Name.  A good beginning is to remember and once more affirm our Baptismal Promises. (This version is from the Roman Missal, 3rd Edition from 2011, see on Catholic Culture on-line.)

Promises of Baptism

Dear brethren, through the Paschal Mystery
we have been buried with Christ in Baptism,
that we may walk with him in newness of life.
And so, let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism, in
which we once renounced Satan and his works
and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church.

And so I ask you:

V. Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?
R. I do.

V. Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no mastery over you?
R. I do.

V. Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin?
R. I do.

V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?
R. I do.

V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
R. I do.

V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
R. I do.

V. And may almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins, keep us by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for eternal life.
R. Amen.
(All are sprinkled – and can make the Sign of the Cross – with holy water.)

This is the beginning of a renewal that is real: to take seriously, literally, earnestly, Baptism.


Responses

  1. Dear Thomas,

    Thanks so much for posting this “First Step”, I believe some of us have been pondering similar thoughts — especially, perhaps, those of us who recently renewed our “Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary” on the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25.

    St. Louis de Montfort, wrote that this Consecration is a perfect renewal of our Baptismal promises. Of course it is not merely by “saying” the words of any prayer, but it is the intention of the heart that is most important when we pray. And most of all it is by God’s Grace, that we can live the prayers we offer.

    Jesus Who is Truth Incarnate told us: “Without Me you can do nothing”. May we LISTEN to all God reveals to us in Scripture that we may do the Truth we hear, as our Mother Mary listened and pondered all in her heart. Mary, Mother and Model for the Church, pray for us.

  2. I do believe the covid-19 should be an awakening in the world of all that we have ignored for too long. We have put too much importance on things of the world & not things of God. If we would take the renewal of our baptismal vows seriously, what a paradise this world would be as God intended.

    • Indeed what a Gift is Baptism! Yet it is taken for granted – a mere ceremony in the past – and we forget (if we ever knew) of the supernatural powers of the graces and gifts Baptism brings! May the Lord give us the grace to remember, and believe, and embrace in these times, the Gift once given to us all.

  3. Thank you Thomas, for sharing your blog with us. Now that we cannot go to a “live” Mass, it is important for us to keep our hearts clean and focused on Jesus. The evil one is prowling trying to find people not paying attention. Mother Mary, who was filled with grace, had no room for anything else in her heart but The Word of God. What a perfect way to be.


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