Reflection and encouragement
on how to deal spiritually with the difficult and delicate world situation following the spread of Covid-19, commonly called Coronavirus
(WE ARE VERY SORRY FOR ERRORS IN TRANSLATION)
We wish to offer indications so that we correctly set up our theological reflection and our spiritual attitude towards the serious event of the spread of Covid-19, commonly called Coronavirus, which is afflicting the whole world at the moment.
As healthy theology teaches us, every time we ask ourselves why something happens (and therefore we ask ourselves about its causes), in order to be correct, every discourse must start from the first cause, that is from God, Who he either wants them in himself, acting to make them happen, or he wants them by accidens, that is, he allows them. It is not always possible to grasp the reasons that justify God’s provident action (the so-called “reasons of convenience”); on the contrary, in the light of Revelation and experience we can affirm that most of them God keeps them hidden until the day of Judgment, enough for now the certainty of faith that the Providence of God extends from one border to another with strength and governs everything with excellent goodness (cf. Wis 8: 1), that of five sparrows, which sell for two pennies, not one of them is forgotten before God (cf. Lk 12: 6); that even the hair of our head is all counted and that we are worth more than many sparrows (cf. Lk, 12,7); that everything contributes to the good of those who love God (cf. Rom 8:28); and that Almighty God, being supremely good, would never allow any evil to exist in his works, if it were not powerful and good enough to derive good from evil itself (cf. Catechism Catholic Church No. 311).
After God, the first cause, in questioning why something happens, it is necessary to take into consideration the secondary causes, that is, the creatures that He has made, among which the efficient cause must be sought, that is, the one that produced the effect on which we are investigating.
We know, by faith, that some times behind certain events there is, as an efficient cause, Satan, who, however, always and only moves by divine permission and, when God is allowed to act, while wishing to do evil , in fact it does the good in spite of it. A very pregnant example is offered to us in the story of Job, whose misfortunes have Satan as an efficient cause.
That Job’s sufferings have the Evil as their immediate cause, we only know by revelation, because it is not at all evident to the external observer that it was Satan who caused them. Not even Job himself was self-evident. However, behind Job’s immense pain there was Satan as an efficient cause or not, in the end this is irrelevant. And this also applies to us today in the face of Coronavirus.
In fact, with regard to the Coronavirus, we do not have evidence that the devil is its efficient cause, either by acting on the forces of nature to produce it and to spread it, or by inspiring men to make it (if it were true, as some claim, that it is was produced in the laboratory and then deliberately released or escaped control). In any case, even if one day we had to have this evidence, it would always be of secondary importance, as it would only concern the second cause of the Coronavirus and would not give sufficient elements to answer the reasons related to the first Cause. In fact, the most important question would remain: “Why did God permit it?”.
If we look at Job, we notice that he does not ask himself if a bad spirit struck him and, if so, why he did it. This does not matter to Job, while he cares to know why God allowed all that evil in his life. The whole drama of Job (the loss of property, the death of children, the turning against him of his wife and his friends and that plague that upsets him in the body from top to toe) revolves around the question: “Why does God have allowed this? “. And it is only when, with God’s help, Job finds an adequate answer to this excruciating question that his drama is resolved: his justice is confirmed, his faith becomes greater than he had before and his love for God and his abandonment in him becomes truly total.
Consequently, hitting the demon stating, or even just assuming, that he is the efficient, immediate cause of the Coronavirus, does not hit the target, rather, misses the target, because the most important question to ask is not on the secondary causes, but on the First Cause: “Why did God want it or allow it?”. To which the other question necessarily follows: “In this situation, what does God want of me?”
And the answer is the one given to us by the Church in an authoritative way, through the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic situation, where we are urged to consider with faith spirit the ‘epidemic currently underway, to live it in terms of personal conversion.
And it can only be this way. Jesus himself (just read the first nine verses of Lk 13), makes us understand that in the face of all the disasters caused by natural events or by man, the most important thing to do is to convert us to God, to return to him.
To bring up the devil on these occasions is to make a mistake; it is, above all, putting yourself in a very dangerous spiritual attitude, because it only causes discouragement and loss of strength. The devil certainly exists, but is invisible by nature and tends to hide by strategic choice. We are therefore dealing with an enemy from which, humanly speaking, we do not know how to defend ourselves, a problem, however, resolved, if we learned to be like children in the arms of the Mother, that is, of the Madonna; like lambs on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd, that is, of Jesus; as children, in the paternal womb of God. When we are there, who can touch us, who can really harm us? “If the Lord is with us, who will be against us?” Is it not true that “everything contributes to the good of those who love God”?
The winning strategy is, in all cases, to understand Coronavirus as an appeal that the Lord is making to us because we truly return to him with all our heart, converting ourselves to the good life of the Gospel. Those who accept this appeal will not receive any harm from this disease, even those who, for its cause, should die. After all, it is Jesus who says: “What good is it for man to gain the whole world, if he then loses or ruins himself?” (cf. Lk 9:25) “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you in addition” (cf. Mt 6:33).
Let us therefore fix our gaze where God wants us to fix it at this moment, that is, on him, on the face of Jesus, on his cross, on his Gospel.
The words put by Guareschi on Don Camillo’s mouth in the sermon made during the flood also apply to the present situation: “The waters tumultuously leave the river bed and overwhelm everything: but one day they will return to their placid river and will return to shine the sun. And if, in the end, you have lost everything, you will still be rich if you have not lost faith in God. But whoever doubts the goodness and justice of God will be poor and miserable even if he has saved everything. ”
We take this opportunity to invite everyone to pray in the family and individually, unanimously in praying to Jesus, so that through the intercession of Mary Immaculate and St. Michael the Archangel he will give us the light and strength of faith and the grace of deliverance from all evil.
Rome, March 25, 2020
Annunciation of the Lord