June 4, 2020

All that happens each day is a part of the Divine Providence of God. What does this mean? Everything which occurs each day is either directly willed by God or permitted by Him.

This must be clearly understood for people to understand the events of each day. Too many believe that God directly wills all of the events of each day. Therefore, when an event which effects a notable number of people occurs, a certain number of people will blame God for allowing it to happen. Perhaps one of the best examples is the death of an infant or child. A world-wide event, though, is indeed, a better example. Its impact is much greater and provides a lesson for a greater number of people.

The events concerning the corona virus tell us just how fragile life is. It is quite easy in our time to have a false security about one’s life. It has been seen that life as we know it can change very quickly. There is no such thing as a totally secure life regardless of who you are or the position you hold.

Catholics, especially, should always keep in mind that God is always in control. It may seem at times that He is not, but that is either an illusion or a denial. Most people fail to realize that most of what takes place in the world is due to man’s free will. The will of man produces good decisions or bad decisions. With each decision among those who make important judgments comes a corresponding effect. This effect are those events which shape national and world events.

One should also keep in mind that since Man’s Fall he has had to suffer through plagues, epidemics and pandemics. There is nothing new here. The media would have you believe that man has never lived through a virus. One should take reasonable precautions and pray each day for the physical and spiritual welfare of the world.

Events such as this are a stark reminder that one is simply passing through this world. This earth is not our true home. If our focus is not on Heaven then the events of this world will affect you in an inordinate manner.

The saints are excellent examples of how to approach the constant passing of events in our life regardless of where one lives. They remained calm in the midst of turmoil and chaos because they knew that God’s Providence governs this world. It is true that one may not understand the reason for traumatic world events. This is why after one has prayed and acted to his fullest, all else should be put into the Hands of God.

This expression should not be a mere cliché or a passing desire, but a sublime and profound act of the will. Who is willing to put all things into the Providence of God? Who has the fortitude to place one’s trust with the Most Trusted? It is during difficult times when the supernatural virtue of men is tested. Having the examples of the saints is good, but who is willing to follow these examples when it means the most?

The shocking pictures of large cities such as Los Angeles, California and Madrid, Spain looking like ghost towns is a reality check like no other. It indeed tells us, for those who are listening, that all are more dependent upon God than many would care to admit.

Nations have fought wars, endured influenza and famine. Most of these events were limited to a nation or a region. This has changed with man’s ability to travel, particularly by air. In the distant past it would take weeks or months to travel to distant parts of the world, today it is possible within a day or two. This makes the transmission of diseases to distant nations considerably easier and quicker. It is obvious that such situations with the addition of the twenty-four-hour news cycle creates panic and fear.

Panic and fear are never good reactions in any situation. If they are exaggerated by an irresponsible media, it quickly becomes an environment that is mostly uncontrollable or chaotic at best. The best remedy for these reactions is prayer. Prayer at this time must be our means through which one is consoled and finds at least a semblance of peace.

Any time a crisis occurs, whether planned or natural, there is usually something good to come from the event. Some people have concluded that the virus crisis is a punishment from God. Why is this a good? It tells one that they are thinking beyond the average member of the non-thinking mob. They understand God uses a situation which man has created to punish them and to hopefully correct the reasons for the punishment. An event of this magnitude is almost always going to be used by God for His good purposes.

There is more unity in the United States at this time. One does not know how long it will last, but it is good to see that people are able to come together to help others who are ill or dying. There is certainly more prayer taking place. It should not take a major crisis for people to pray but one thing is for sure; the reason the crisis came to be is that too few people were praying and properly adoring God.

Families are surely spending more time together in their homes. Let us hope this time together results in a family that is happier and holier than before the crisis.

It is an unfortunate thing for people to rush to get food and their carload of toilet paper! It would have been better had they rushed to the local churches. The result would have been far better.

The general reaction of the populace to the present chaos is not a surprise. Many react badly, becoming quite selfish about their needs. Others will immediately be concerned with those who are in most need. Still others will abuse the situation to create more chaos for their evil intentions. A select few will pray, imploring God’s mercy for a world that is long overdue for punishment of its sins.

How interesting is this situation? Men have fought his visible enemies for centuries, bring a nation or continent to a standstill. It took an invisible enemy to bring nearly the entire world to a standstill. One has never witnessed the United States so still and so quiet as it is at this time. Will the nation learn any serious lessons from these events? Will its citizens look beyond the sickness and death and ask why has God visited us in such a manner? Will there be any serious effort to correct the sins of the nation? Who will look upon this crisis as a warning/punishment from God?

There is certainly plenty of opportunity and time for most citizens of the nation to pray and consider these questions. How will they use this time? Will they consider the Providence of God during their quiet time?

Fr. Joseph Noonan, OFM