In the last couple weeks I have found myself in the blessed position of still having access to sacraments, albeit in somewhat furtive conditions, but sacraments nevertheless. Only some weeks prior many of us had packed our local chapel in Paris for the First Friday in Lent, and based on the turnout, many of us were looking forward to making this the "best Lent ever" (as I think many of us want to do every year).
In truth, that opportunity has not been taken from us. No one has stopped us from abstaining, fasting, saying extra prayers or meditating daily on the Stations. Not only have we not been stopped from reading and meditating on the death and passion of Our Lord, because of lockdowns, we have been given more time for such activities than we have ever likely had in our adult lives. So, why the outcry about corona?
Is it because they took the Mass from you? You knew this day would come. You knew they wouldn't announce it beforehand. But as Fr. Anthony Cekada often says, you can save your soul without the Mass, but you cannot save it without the Faith. Or have we forgotten St. Athanasius, who reminded us that the heretics had the churches but we had the faith? While streaming options are plentiful and consoling in their own right, remember that God permits or wills everything that happens to us, for His reasons.
Is it because the government is acting in a tyrannical manner? Nolite confidere in principibus, the Psalms tell us: put not your trust in princes. These are men and women who, in the practical order, act as if there is no God and thus set themselves up as an authority apart from and against Him. When a hyped-up disease allows them to shed their masks and show their true colors, should we not rejoice as those who may have been sleepwalking may now be awakened to the peril in front of them?
Is it because your plans for the weeks and months ahead have been dashed? St. Matthew reminds us: "Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." You will need to put away your needs and desires to plan things and live for the day, remembering to ask Our Father for our daily bread. It may not be easy, but it is simple.
Is it because it seems the entire world has bought into a lie? Our Lord wondered if He would find faith when He returned. A world that rejects Truth will necessarily reject other, subordinate truths and put up fictions in its place: fictional money, fictional news, fictional saviors. The world will tilt ever more towards lies as long as it rejects its King.
If you can see that the panic pandemic happened during Lent, and will continue beyond Our Lord's victory in just a few short days, then you will see this corona - this "crown" - as akin to the one St. Paul spoke to the Corinthians about: an everlasting crown for the race we will run. Remember Our Lord asleep in the boat as the ocean and sky raged. He, and only He, will decide when this ends, but doubt not that He is with us, that He desires to speak with you, and that He is, in the coming hours, to be in Gethsemane and be betrayed. Console Him. Succor Him. Lay your worries and concerns at His breast. And remember that this life is passing. Be thankful that corona has reminded the world -- and you -- of that immutable fact. Use corona to gain your crown.