in this moment
Quarantine is derived from the Italian word quaranta, meaning “forty”; in Latin, the word is quadraginta. During Lent, we are called in a sense to quarantine ourselves from the physical things that keep us distanced from God — through acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
In light of the current global pandemic, we have been asked to quarantine ourselves from each other through social distancing to help reduce the spread of disease. While we are separated from our friends, our teammates, our co-workers, and even family, and while the sacraments may be restricted, we do not have to be separated from our God.
We invite you to connect more closely with God with the content below which we hope lifts your spirits and extends healing and prayers to those who are affected. While we are unable to be together physically, our Church can still be united spiritually.
Why is this happening? – Revisited
Coronavirus isn’t going anywhere. At least, not fast enough. And so, even though we’ve decided to accept this plague as a punishment for our sins, our thoughts return to this mysterious providence, this loving providence of God. Why is He doing this to us?
In our last segment, we realized that we may never know with certitude the details of why God wove this contagion into His plan for our salvation. However, there are certain principles that help point us in the right direction, in fact, in the very direction that led us to take it earlier as a call for repentance.
First, as our Holy Father Augustine says, “Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.” Note, that God allows evil is a sign of His power and goodness, not weakness or indifference to our plight.
So for example, Sunday of last week we heard in the Gospel about the man born blind. Here is an evil, not being able to see when human nature is designed to. But when asked what this blindness was all about, Jesus points to a greater good: “It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”
Assuredly, God’s glory is a greater good than man’s blindness is an evil. And so, we often hear this principle expanded to say: God only permits an evil to bring a greater good out of it. How do we know the good result is greater than the evil endured?
The answer to this is our second principle: the supernatural realm is higher than the natural realm. The things of moral order, the order of grace, are greater—infinitely greater—than the things of the physical order, the order of nature. Life in this world is good; life forever is infinitely better. This is what is behind Jesus’ own saying, “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Let us be clear. Coronavirus is evil. Sickness is evil, being the lack of due health. Unemployment is evil, the deprivation of gainful employment to support the family. Death is evil, the greatest of natural evils. All of these, and many other things, are direct or indirect effects of this plague. But sin is infinitely worse.
On the other hand, the love of God and the salvation of souls are good, incomparably good. Would so many confessions have been heard, if not for this pestilence? Would so many prayers have been said? Would so many people have woken up, turned from their sinful ways, and returned to Christ? Would the desire for God have been nearly as sharpened as it is now, when we feel distant from Him? We see then the wisdom of St. Paul’s pen: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Rom. 8:28).
On the Third Sunday of Lent we heard of Jesus and the woman at the well. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Jesus thirsts; His asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for Him” (2560). We’ve suddenly realized how thirsty we are, how parched without God. And that in itself is a very good thing.
Why is this happening?
It’s the most natural question, one that all of us are asking. Why is God allowing this? Is this a punishment for sins?
The providence of God is mysterious, often inscrutable, but always loving. His full motivations for this trial may be opaque to us, but following the Fathers and Doctors of the Church we can always receive this time of uncertainty, sickness, and sorrow as a correction from our loving Father. In other words, no matter why God gives it to us, we can always and with profit take it as penance.
No moment is more important than the one immediately after our death, when we have a serious heart to heart discussion with Jesus about our lives, answering for everything we’ve ever done. We call this the Particular Judgment, and upon that moment hangs our eternal happiness. Are we ready?
When we look it straight in the face, most of us would balk at a confident, “Yes!” And so we repent, beg God to forgive us our sins, and promise to steer clear of all those sins in the future.
What can we do? Churches are closing, sacraments are increasingly hard to come by, so what are we supposed to do? Remember, God is your loving Father. If you feel your heart stirring with compunction, if your eyes are being opened to spiritual realities, if you want time to repent, He has put that desire within you; it’s a sign that His grace is moving your heart. God is on your side!
Last year, following another crisis in the Church, we offered you the Seven Penitential Psalms as a time-honored way of both expressing and fostering that interior conversion we all so desperately need. So here we give it to you again. Soon there will also be videos to lead you in the chaplet of divine mercy, the rosary, and the stations of the cross. Join us in prayer for God’s mercy upon us, our loved ones, and the whole world.
New Abbey Construction Site Tour
Amidst this tragic time of church closures and absence of the sacraments, we want to offer you hope and something to look forward to in the very near future. Join the new abbey construction site tour with Fr. Justin and Fr. Ambrose.
Christos Anesti! Since the faithful could not attend our Easter liturgies, we here share with you homilies from the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses.
Holy Week Reflections
Since the faithful could not attend our Holy Week liturgies, Abbot Eugene wanted the preachers to give extended spiritual reflections, which we here share with you for your greater entry into the mysteries of our salvation.
Pray a Novena
Join in praying a video novena led by the Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey.
Join us in praying this powerful novena.
A Prayer for This Time
A selection of reflections
by Fr. Pio Vottola, O.Praem.
Laetare Sunday (2020)
by Fr. Victor Szczurek, O.Praem.
Thirst and Water
by Fr. Pio Vottola, O.Praem.
If You Ask Anything in My Name, I Will Do It
by Fr. Miguel Batres, O.Praem.
St. Michael’s and the Pandemic
by Fr. Chrysostom Baer, O.Praem., Prior
Let us join our hearts in prayer…
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Jesus, I trust in You.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy calls down mercy upon us and the whole world by offering the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus to His Father in the Holy Spirit. Now more than ever we need the mercy of God to heal and strengthen us and defeat this virus.
Stations of the Cross
Video Stations of the Cross
During this time of great suffering, we can walk with Jesus Christ and imitate Him with the Stations of the Cross. Jesus seeks to teach us at each station, and He invites us to share in His life, suffering, death, and resurrection.
We can still receive
Spiritual communion allows us to receive many of the same graces as a sacramental communion, if we are well disposed and ardently seek to be united to Jesus and each other in faith, hope, and especially charity.
A Spiritual Communion
A Short Act of Spiritual Communion
Practical Ways to Make a Spiritual Communion
Pray the Rosary
The Holy Rosary is a powerful way to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary and to receive special graces against evil, like the Coronavirus. In the past, the Holy Rosary helped bring both victory over evil and strength to souls with the power of Jesus Christ through Mary, His Mother.
Video coming soon.
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