Perhaps the easiest pastime of this fall is to worry about coronavirus, worry about getting shut down again, worry about the election, about riots, about the economy, about having the Sacraments banned, etc. There are a seemingly endless number of crisis to stress out about. Everybody is talking about these things, and I’m pretty tired of it. So let’s not talk about them.
One common behavior I’ve noticed is that many of us Catholics readily rebuke people who hold wrong opinions but are never willing to receive rebukes ourselves (myself included, of course. I’m a bit of a hot head.) This is certainly not a new problem, but it is one which is manifesting itself over and over again in innumerable conversations. Do we forget that Satan does not just tempt everyone except ourselves? Do we forget that we too are the worst of sinners? Do we forget that we too are stupid, faithless, and despicable creatures because of our own sinfulness and vices? Any seriously honest examination of conscience will reveal the great depth of our capacity for evil.
Maybe there is a lack of peace right now because we do not deserve peace. Maybe this is just compensation for the lack of reverence, devotion, and zeal for the Faith, not only our current adult generation, but also those of decades past. Perhaps we suffer this inability to reason clearly and live faithfully because we have allowed these privileges to slip away, little by little, until we can no longer submit both our intellect and will to God. Remember that a person’s ability to reason will be impaired by the number and gravity of their sins, and that supporting sins makes one proportionally guilty of said offenses.
We must focus not on the state of the world, but primarily on the state of our own soul. We need to devote our time and energy to personal sanctification, the development of virtue, and making oneself available to receive the grace of God. We must place ourselves before God in prayer with an acute awareness of our own incompetence, out pitiful weaknesses. When we humble ourselves and approach the Lord with a contrite heart, He will hear our prayers.
Most importantly, we must pray for an increase of the theological virtue of faith. Pray for faith, pray for faith, and pray for faith. There is no real hope without true faith, no authentic charity without an acknowledgement of God and His commands.
Read the writings of the Doctors of the Church. Learn about the Church’s teachings on Original Sin. Pray for the dead and perform other spiritual works of mercy. Learn to pray always by asking for a constant desire for the things of God. Turn off the phones, the computers, the television. Maybe take a cold shower or two. Exercise. Remove yourself from the world. Recognize the necessity of repentance, not just as a one-and-done event, but a daily (more like hourly) act of the will. Pray the Rosary. Read Scripture.
There is so much to do, and so little time. None of us are perfect, so let us come together, not in a spirit which boasts of the glory of man, but a humble spirit which acknowledges our utter dependence on God. Do not be discouraged by your failures. In the end, though, the will of God will be done. Good will triumph over evil. Sadly, many souls will be lost. Let us therefore take great care so that we may have reasonable hope for salvation.