Posted by: Thomas Richard | May 14, 2020

Covid-19: Call to Repentance!

Is anyone listening, yet?

Covid-19 has dominated the news for weeks now, and has held the concern of almost every – if not every – identifiable group in America and in the world.  The vast majority everywhere, I would guess, is wishing, hoping and/or praying that soon it will be over.  Soon, the promises of those in charge assure us, soon we will defeat this enemy and our return to normal will be fast.  All will be well.  “Back to usual” sounds wonderful to all – businessmen, college professors, school children, teachers, parents, politicians – everyone.  Almost.

I know I’m not alone in my concerns; I hear a few online share this with me.  I want to say it, I need to say it, and I am convinced that many need to hear it: only God knows when this plague ought to be over. I strongly suspect that the time is not now – not yet is the time.  I strongly believe that “Back to the usual” would not be a good thing for the country nor for the world, not now, not yet.  It is still too soon for us to go “Back to normal” – not because we are not yet in control of the virus, but we are not yet in control of ourselves – we are not yet in control of what is normal for us. Western culture has fallen so deeply and widely into the abnormal, the immoral, the amoral, the godless perverse self-granted license to do and believe anything we choose, that what is truly “normal” for human beings has drifted beyond our reach.  A return to sanity will not be easy, nor quick, nor even possible without God.

We in the West – and the U.S. in particular – are not 100% sold on modern culture’s normalization of the abnormal.  Many – not an overwhelming majority, but many – still believe that marriage is one man and one woman, until death do they part.  Many – not a majority anymore, but many – believe that same-sex attraction is abnormal, is not healthy for adults, is not a sound basis for a marriage or for adopted children. Many quietly believe, still, that it is inappropriate to try to normalize homosexuality in popular entertainment or educational curricula or in any way.  Many still believe it is profoundly wrong to kill unborn babies, and that it is insane to call such barbaric double-speak “health care.”  Many still are stunned as story after story is published about some adult, teen or child “deciding that he/she actually is herself/himself, trapped in a body of the wrong ‘gender’.”  And the solution these trapped souls see is the surgical mutilation of their bodies!  All these examples, and the many other unstated ones, ought to make us wonder if this horrible plague that has “gone viral” around the world, is a horror that could be much worse – and might still become much worse – if we do not address the moral insanity that has become our shameful “normal,” and, to use an apt but now ancient term, REPENT.  We need a culture-wide repentance, interior change in individual souls, a transforming renewal into lives worthy of human persons made in the image and likeness of God.

The message that our Blessed Mother Mary sent to the Church, to the world, to us all 100 years ago was, repent.  Penance!  Penance! Penance!  Say many Rosaries for the conversion of sinners, that they turn to live lives worthy of God’s creation!  Offer sacrifices to God in reparation for the insults borne to Him, to Jesus the Son, to Mary our Mother, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that burns with such holy, Self-sacrificial love for us – and to her pierced Immaculate Heart, in such union of love with the Heart of her Son, in love for us!  

Yet how basely in fact have we treated them.  How crudely we have desecrated the human body given to us for the intention of lives of holiness and self-giving love.  How we have stained and soiled the sacrament entrusted to us, the sacrament of His Church, the Church He empowered and sent to save the lost sinners of this world.  We have carried the dirt of this world into His Holy Place, His House of Prayer, and we have made it a place of compromise.  We have brought together the clean and the unclean, the holy and the unholy, God and Mammon, the Gospel of eternal life and the ways and means of this passing, dying world.  We have mixed together the natural and the supernatural, we have crafted a religion of compromise, that God might not be too displeased with us and we might not be too inconvenienced for Him.  It is a poor and senseless gamble we have entered, playing against truth.  In Fatima we were warned, but our hearts to this day have not yet been broken under the weight of our “normal” sins, not yet broken unto a cleansing repentance and renewal in Christ.

What is needed?

The Church needs to come alive – to awaken – to take seriously, as if it were a matter of life or death – which it is – our call to holiness and to the perfection of charity.  Mediocre, tepid, minimalistic, lukewarm, half-hearted, bored, preoccupied – such descriptors ought to bring shame, tears and remorse when they fit so well.  They ought never fit, in the Household of God!  He has entrusted His Church with so much!  Yet so many of us don’t want the rich treasures of the Kingdom within that He has placed in our hands. We concern ourselves more quickly with the externals of religion.  We want our liturgies well-performed, but the graces they were created to convey to us within, to transform our hearts, we hardly are able to recognize.  Holy graces run over us like water off a duck’s back, and they are lost: they slip away dripping from our ever-too-busy fingers.  We need to be prepared to receive His graces, to hold on to them, to guard them and live in them.  We need to be dry and ready, prepared to be set aflame with the fire of the Spirit and Truth!  

But instead of awareness and regard for the things within, we tend to the outsides of things, and neglect the things less obvious. Appearance is everything we think, while within, our souls are impoverished, barren, malnourished, disfigured.  In the midst of the precisely timed ceremonies, the prominent golden vessels, the ornate vestments that rule our worship, we sit waiting as outcast beggars, hoping that God can break through all this, and come to us.  Yet for our part, we are almost paralyzed: we are too busy to be catechized, too comfortable with what we know to venture into the deeper waters of Truth and of holy prayer.  A clergy hardened in clericalism, a laity hardened in paralysis of soul: a petrification has set in, in His Church – a becoming “rock” in exactly the wrong way.

The new wine is as new as it was two millennia ago; the old wineskins are as brittle and hardened as they ever were, as well. We need the softness and flexibility of fresh wineskins, able to hold together life!  We need Life, to become witnesses of Life, so that a world racing toward death might stop and see such a beautiful thing on the side of the wide road: stop and see in amazement, to realize an anomaly so glorious, it cannot be passed by.

The Holy Catholic Church is a sacrament of life-communicating grace sent to a lost and failing world – we are sent to save, with the living food and living water of eternal life.  Do we need a miracle?  His Life IS a miracle!  It is a great blessing to be an outcast from a madhouse.  Regaining one’s sanity, and discovering the wealth of peace in truth, one can turn and return as a healer.   And this world needs righteous healers.  Parishes of them, churches full of them.  Can we learn from this world-wide chastisement that God is ignored, marginalized, neglected, disobeyed at our peril!  Will we believe the Message of Fatima, and in earnest, repent?  Or will He have to repeat Himself more loudly.


Responses

  1. Dear Thomas,

    Your blog today, brought to my mind Jesus’ words: “There is need for only one thing.” (Luke 10: 42). This time of “staying home” and “social distancing” has been for me, a time to sit at the Lord’s feet as Mary did, listening to Him.

    The one thing necessary, Jesus points us to is our relationship with Him. I believe those who took time to listen to Him during these weeks may have come to hear, as you have and as you’ve written: there is a great need for repentance in the world and in individuals.

    Yesterday’s Feast of Our Lady of Fatima was a “gift” in so many ways! Mary our Mother was so well-received by the three little children! They listened and they believed, and they did the Truth they heard coming from God through Mary. May we do the same.

    • The example that these children set for us all, certainly do illustrate the teaching,

      Mt 18:2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,
      Mt 18:3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
      Mt 18:4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

  2. Thomas, as always, a beautiful message. The three Fatima children never doubted Our Mother’s words to them. They only wanted to obey her and love her. And did so at all costs. Where has that faith gone in today’s world?

    • Where indeed has faith gone? I’m hearing a term these days that rings true, and expresses a controlling environment that is guiding the world away from God – a spirit of “the dictatorship of secularism”. Once there was a yearning for “the freedom of religion” – freedom to seek God, to find one’s place with Him! That freedom has been twisted, and wrung out, and ripped up now to mean “freedom from religion”- freedom to taste every inhuman and unnatural and dysfunctional perverse sin we choose, and to protect every lustful poisonous swallow from that cup of death.
      We need to stand firm in the life that Christ has given us! The evil one is no longer prowling – he is parading; he no longer whispers his lies, he shouts them in defiance of every truth our Faith embraces. We must stand firm, and grow strong, and learn to remain in the fortress of His Victory.

  3. Thomas you are right on. Since the pandemic started I have been saying that this is a strong message and if we don’t understand this message it may be too late.
    The trouble is that your comments should be spoken from the pulpit. Our
    priests need to start catechising from the pulpit instead of worrying about hurting someones feelings. The Mass has become so modernized that it is more protestant than Catholic. The good news is that the FSSP Traditional Latin Mass Church is growing.

    • Hello Francis – It’s good to hear from you again. Thank you for your good news – that the FSSP is alive and well. In case some of our readers may not be familiar with the FSSP – The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter – let me assure all that it is a solidly Catholic and faithful fraternity, in full communion with the Vatican – and their offerings of the Traditional Latin Mass and sacraments are fully recognized by the Church. I’ll add below more information, from their website FSSP.

      The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is the liturgy of the Catholic Church in use before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. This includes the Mass, the Sacraments, various rites of blessing and more.
      On July 7th 2007, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI issued an apostolic letter called Summorum Pontificum. In this letter he declared that older form of the Roman rite was never abrogated, and that it “must be given due honor for its venerable and ancient usage.” (SP Art. 1)
      His Holiness termed the traditional Latin Mass – the older form – the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This older form has been in use for many centuries. During this time it was at the heart of the Church and Western culture, nourishing countless generations.
      Our Fraternity has chosen to place the Extraordinary Form, the traditional Roman Rite, at the heart of our charism because we believe that it distinctly expresses the sacrificial nature of the priesthood and provides a steady, unchanging and beautiful mode of prayer sanctified by time and usage.

      • Thank you for this for this beautiful posting, Richard. Deborah’s mentioning of St. Francisco and St. Jacinta reminded me that they would make good patrons for pandemics since they both died from one.

  4. Very dynamic and motivational!

    • Hello Lizette – Thank you for your comment, and your “presence” here on the Blog. How I pray for the Holy Spirit to ignite this Church of His, with true dynamism and heroic motivation! We need His power, to approach and to ever complete the mission we were given by Jesus Christ, in His “Great Commission” in Matthew 28. Without the power of the Lord we can do nothing – but He wants our “Yes!” to His will; He wants our cooperation; He wants our willingness – not counting the cost – to do our part, in Him and through Him. Let us all please pray for this: for His empowerment, now, and for the grace to give ourselves to His will. The Church needs His LIFE, to take His Life to this very needy world.

      • Amen!


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