The Church is made for you and me, and times like these
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Catholic parishes may be closed around the world, but that does not mean God's grace has stopped. Rather, we are the Church, and God's grace can flow through us as we help one another in difficult times. Indeed, the Church was born in difficult times, and it is well-made for them.
The Church is still here for us, even in the most troubled times.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Catholic Church was born in a time of tribulation. Israel was subject to Roman rule and those appointed to lead began to persecute the people with harsher measures, meant to pacify and convert the people to Paganism.
Early Christians also faced persecution. While Jews were exempt from the requirement to worship the emperors as gods, the Christians had no such privilege.
And throughout the world, plagues and sicknesses of all kinds broke out in waves sickening millions each time. This was an age without modern medicine or sanitation.
Anxiety was a common condition. From year to year, people often wondered if their lives might be consumed by war, persecution, disease, or famine. All were common fates.
There is no mistake that the Church should emerge during this period. The Church was the cure for all these problems. It was the solution for every anxiety. It was the answer to fear.
Today, we are beset by fear. What is this pandemic doing? Why are the churches closed? How do I get the Sacraments? How do I work, will I have a job or a home after this? How to pay all these bills? And on and on.
We are called to respond to these problems with faith. Everyone has faith in something. But most people have faith in the wrong things. Fear is faith in the wrong things. It is faith that the worst is likely to happen. That work will cease, income will stop, bills will accrue, and families will be put out on the street. It is fear of sickness and death. It is fear that the Sacraments will be impossible to obtain. It is fear in all these things. It is fear that the unknown is more powerful than Christ.
As Christians, we are called to live without anxiety. Why? It is because we have the answers to the most important questions. We have the way open for us. Our only concern should be our steps along the path to heaven. Nothing else matters.
What is the benefit of perfect health, gainful employment, and a carefree life, if it does not end in salvation? And what is the care of an unpaid bill, an illness or any other concern if we are saved?
What worries can a saint have? That is, a person who is in heaven?
The Church was established in troubled times. It has always preached for people to pay attention to what really matters, and not to the daily concerns of life, which are really just distractions.
None of this is to trivialize our responsibilities, or those with genuine anxiety issues. These things are best handled using all the modern tools at our disposal. But there is no need to have garden-variety anxiety over the "little things." And when you compare most problems to the issue of salvation, you will see most problems we think are great are actually quite small!
Let us not torture ourselves with worry and anxiety, especially over things we cannot control. Instead, let us simply make sure that each step we make is a step in the right direction, towards God. And we can take these steps, even if the Parish is closed for a time. We can still find grace in making an act of perfect contrition, in praying, and seeking spiritual communion.
The parishes will reopen. And they will make the grace we need even easier to obtain. But we need not have anxiety.
Let us abandon fear in the wrong things, and keep our faith in God.
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