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A Leaven In The World Rather Than Offering Fear, Offer Heaven

April 22, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

In the state where I reside, the governor is requiring face masks in grocery stores. The county in which I live is cracking down on people suspected of using a trip to the grocery store to get out of the house. They are accomplishing this by assigning shopping days to groups based on first letter of one’s last name. I can now only get groceries in my county on dates ending in the 0 or 5.
Absolutely Orwellian.
Yes, evidence points to the COVID19 virus being highly transmissible. Yes, hotspots can flare up again if people start interacting and congregating too soon.
But who decides how far we go before the cure is worse than the disease?
We keep hearing from the authorities, medical professionals — not to mention do-gooders of all kinds — that this is about stopping deaths. One fact that is hard to get around is that many people die from the flu each year, but we’ve never shut down the world for the flu before.
The overbearing attempts to save people from themselves can certainly be altruistic, but where does it all end?
It reminds me of incidents in my family when we children were young and one of us did something naughty. One ploy sometimes used by my parents to wring a confession out of the guilty party was to punish all of us until one of us fessed up.
A Bill Bennett interview on Fox and published by Media Matters puts things into perspective:
“Yeah, let’s take a step back. The estimates now from the University of Washington, which is the model everybody’s been going on — even though it has been wrong most of the time, by a lot, overstating it — is now, they say 60,000 people will die. Sixty-one thousand is what we lost to the flu in 2017 and 2018 — the flu.
“Now, we all regret the loss of 61,000 people, if that’s what it turns out to be — I’m going to tell you, I think it’s going to be less — and salute all those who are working on the front lines on this, the hospital workers, the nurses, the doctors, etc., and the generosity of the American people. But if you look at those numbers, and see the comparable, we’re going to have fewer fatalities from this than from the flu. For this, we scared the hell out of the American people, we lost 17 million jobs, we put a major dent in the economy, we closed down the schools — you heard Dr. Oz say we probably didn’t have to do that — shut down the churches, and so on.
“You know, this was not, and is not, a pandemic. But we do have panic and pandemonium as a result of the hype of this. And it’s really unfortunate. Look at the facts.”
Some argue this virus is different, that our elderly and vulnerable who are more likely to catch it and to die from it will do so alone, drowning from the effects of pneumonia, because authorities want to make every effort to preserve other lives and thus isolate such patients.
Let’s say all that is true, tragic and terrible as it is to imagine. We do not, however, have ultimate control over how we will die. Despite all of our efforts, no matter how herculean.
Some of us may die peacefully in our sleep. We can and should pray for this grace for everyone. Some of us may have to deal with a great deal of pain, on the other hand. Methods of managing pain have come a long way and have helped many people to meet the end of this life with greater serenity. It behooves all of us who care for parents to learn more about pain management and its ethical use and to plan for its possible enlistment.
But, again, despite all our best efforts we still cannot control how and when we may die.
One thing that this pandemic does expose is those who have strong faith. And those who do not so much. Some are responding to conditions with a manic effort at control bordering on pathology and losing their peace of mind and charity as a result.
Some of the behaviors being exhibited suggest that some individuals are suffering from a form of idolatry in their vain efforts to divinize science and medicine, mere human instruments, to uselessly attempt to perpetuate life in this world. That is a perfect definition of insanity.
Nothing is worth losing a state of grace over. Because nothing in this world is worth losing Heaven over.
Ultimately, despite one’s best efforts, one may yet catch a virus which may end one’s life. Despite our best efforts someone we love may catch something else we haven’t even thought of and thus couldn’t prepare for, and, as a result, die.
Death comes for us all. We have no choice about that.
This imperfect and beautiful world in which we live for a time is not supposed to be our ultimate goal. At least not according to God. What we can prepare, for, however, is living forever.
In Jesus Christ the Lord we have a divine invitation to seek more than what we can see and experience here and now. And to believe that there is a reality even more perfect and wonderful than the world around us. He gives us grace through forgiveness of sins and the sacramental life as a foretaste and promise of eternal happiness and health.
That is what we celebrate this and every Easter season. It is the only sure source of joy and security possible in this short and sometimes very beautiful life.
What’s more, Heaven is a place without pain, disease, or death. The only reality in which we will never suffer or die, or watch others we love do so. What we celebrate every Easter is the fact that we do have a choice, when it comes to whether or not we live forever, in Heaven.
Let us not neglect any worldly means we can employ to ensure our health and that of others. But may we never neglect any of the heavenly graces that Christ rose from the dead in order to share with all of us.
What choices will you make today? Will they lead closer to or farther away from the goal most worth seeking?
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
(I blog at APriestLife.blogspot.com)

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