Let this be among us brothers in priestly ministry.
With sadness and regret, the COVID-19 scare seems to have affected the better pastoral judgment and apostolic fire of some of us, including priests and bishops unfortunately. The virus is mysterious but the response of pastors is also becoming mysteriously confusing. It is time to refocus.
The times demand caution but not to the extent that the caution numbs us and leaves us motionless in anxiety. Neither can we be reckless as to ignore the mysterious disease; in fact, the Oratio Imperata begs the Lord to deliver us from this disease.
Between being recklessly imprudent and being a paralyzed alarmist, there is virtue. Virtus stat in medio.
We cannot stop celebrating the sacraments, giving absolution, anointing the sick, and doing many acts of mercy for the sheer fear of contamination. This is the time when we and our anxious flock need the Lord most of all. Let us not marginalize God in this scary disease. This is not just a medical concern. This is a spiritual pastoral kairos.
If the faithful ask for confession, we cannot say no by invoking our own personal safety. We must give them the mercy of God at the risk of our own lives. Let it be. Remember Saint Damien of Molokkai. Remember Saint Roche and the plagues he faced by making signs of the cross on the afflicted. Remember Saint John Vianney. Hear Saint Padre Pio again say, “Pray and do not worry.”
We cannot stop Masses and renege on our duty to be intercessors. Remember the Plague of Lombardy which became known as the Plague of Saint Charles because their bishop was so close to those affected. If the faithful do not come for Mass, it is understandable; but if the pastors do not offer Mass because we have locked ourselves in, it will be a shame. There will be a day of reckoning.
If the people come and ask to receive the Lord, we must give them the Lord especially in their sickness and distress. We must not forget that the Eucharist heals.
Wars and plagues in the past have been stopped through the Host and the Virgin. The threat of this plague is actually a blessed opportunity to be true priests ever united with our anxious and confused people.
Do not be cowards. Christ did not run away from the cross. He did not come down from the cross as the thief mocked Him. We cannot do otherwise.
Let us pray more rosaries. Let us attend more Masses and receive Holy Communion more frequently than even before. Let’s hold on tightly to the Mass and the rosary.
By the sign of the cross, in the Body of the Lord, through the rosary of the Mother, we shall overcome.
Do not be afraid. Those who instruct the people in goodness will shine like the stars for eternity.