A Lenten Journey: Catholics and the Coronavirus

A Lenten Journey: Catholics and the Coronavirus March 10, 2020

I try to understand to no avail why some Catholics are angry about the bishops taking measures such as Communion in the hands (unless it’s the EF of the Mass in which only kneeling and on the tongue is permitted) or canceling public Masses to ensure the common good. They accuse them of little faith. They see them as traitors. Some even say that this is a test from God and they have failed. Others insist the Pachamama or some demon is responsible for such drastic measures.

I receive Communion on the tongue and go to Daily Mass. I would hate to miss Mass! But if these are decisions our shepherds have discerned through prayer and consultation, then I will join them in prayer and in their efforts to protect the most vulnerable of our society. It’s called obedience and is an act of humility. I know the faithful have the right to receive on the tongue (yes, I am aware of Church documents and letters from Rome saying so). I also know that the Church allows Communion in the hand (it doesn’t matter if you agree or not, the Magisterium allows it).

This is not the time to be selfish or to quote some saints or Scripture as if we were “holier than thou” and ready to give our life to martyrdom. If you’re ready to die for Christ, good for you! But please don’t post it on social media. This kind of defeats the purpose of the Lenten observance.  May I suggest that we just listen to our ordinary? Or refrain from receiving Communion. Either way, don’t make a big deal out of it. Say what, Joel??? Don’t make a big deal out of this???

Some Catholics have said something like, “I’d rather get coronavirus than take Communion in my hands.” Or, “I’d rather die from Coronavirus than miss Mass.”

No, God is not going to get offended if you receive Him in your hands in a reverent way…remember: Holy Mother Church allows it! He’s certainly not gonna get offended if one misses Mass because we are ill. If you’d rather get the novel coronavirus than Communion in your hands and feel like you’re being martyred by your bishop, I don’t know what to tell you. I suggest we all pray for increased humility and obedience to our religious leaders. 

What is the big deal with this coronavirus anyway? The flu is worse and the media doesn’t cover that. Nobody ever talks about abortion. It’s all a big controversy!

I have heard some people say: “Do not be scared, have faith … those who believe in God do not fear this virus … there are other things worse than this, this is not that big of a deal … what matters is to save the soul not the body … etc. ”

As parents of 6 children, the last thing we want is for that virus (or any other virus) to enter our home. Faith in God does not make anyone immune to disease. Faith is not something superstitious. In addition, as Catholics, we have a duty to protect human life, including the body, because we believe it is an image of the invisible God. The human body is precious, it has value and it has to be protected because it is something sacred. Failure to do so is a sin.

The most affected until now are the adults. On the one hand, we are comforted to know that children have been largely spared. On the other hand, our parents are older and more likely to suffer more health complications. Even with this, we do not want to take any risks and we will try to avoid large scale gatherings.

I start to wonder if those super brave people with super huge faith who are judging those who want to take their precautions have children or a loved one who may be affected by this virus and if their city has been as affected as others. Those of us who have a lot to lose: trust God, pray, don’t panic, but also take the necessary precautions and be cautious.

 

Many people don’t comprehend why coronavirus is or could be a big deal. Yes, the flu is also deadly. So are many other illnesses. But this is a novel virus! This means that it is a new never-before virus experienced by humanity. Why on earth would we want yet another disease to kill us? Don’t we have enough? I don’t know about you’ll but I sure don’t want this new virus in my community, much less in my home. Our home often looks like a hospital as it is: when a kid gets sick, everyone gets sick!

May this Holy Season of Lent bring us down to our knees to feel sorrow for our selfish and sinful ways. If you can still go to Mass and receive Holy Communion, please do so and offer it for those who are ill and for those who can’t go to Mass. This is a good time to be more charitable, to fast and pray without ceasing! Pray especially for Italy and those countries that have been affected the most. Pray for Pope Francis, the bishops and all of our religious and government leaders as they deliberate on how to best safeguard and protect the health of those under their care.


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