The 20th century was the bloodiest and most violent century in history. More people were murdered by ideology and governments than in all the previous centuries combined. Yet humanity was not destroyed, nor did the human spirit turn away from God. More martyrs emerged in the 20th century than in all the early centuries of Christianity combined. Because people were morally outraged by the horrors they witnessed, they fought back against evil.
As such, Satan initiated an alternate strategy for the 21st century. He unleashed a covert and invisible war: an attack on morality.
The problem with moral warfare is that one does not physically see it. It is veiled and can be disguised as a good, a false angel of light. It invades slowly and takes hold steadily.
It begins by questioning absolutes, until relativism emerges as the primary belief system. Self-reliance and control over one's desires and circumstance take center stage. Moral boundaries start to blur. "Rights" supplant morality. Infanticide is no longer murder, but a "woman's right" to be in control of her own body.
Other "rights" emerge, in particular sex-related "rights." Genuine compassion gets confused with permissiveness. We come to believe that there is no absolute truth, that everyone is entitled to their own belief system and their own choice of lifestyle. Science becomes the new god and once again money is power.
We no longer recognize God's image and likeness in one another. Pornography is rampant. "Hooking up" supplants relationships. Social media promotes virtual connectedness. At the same time, loneliness, depression and anxiety become endemic. Suicide rates rise to one of America's leading causes of death.
Entitlement becomes so elemental that it is not even recognized. Concepts like sacrifice and commitment are mostly applied to self-identified goals. Responsibility and caring for others are no longer perceived. The homelessness crisis is somebody else's problem. Elderly are abandoned to "rest homes" and cared for by strangers. Euthanasia is confused with compassion and starts to be legalized. Self-focus and isolationism become so rampant and widespread that God allows an invisible entity to emerge (at no surprise from within a country whose government still embraces a 20th century ideology).
This invisible entity mirrors in every way the current state of human affairs. It is not even a life form! It cannot sustain itself nor reproduce. It depends on a host's life generating biology to propagate. This invisible virus attacks cells and hijacks its DNA to produce RNA and the necessary cellular materials for its replication. And, as part of the process, an immune reaction is triggered, literally causing the host to turn against itself.
Can one not perceive how the ultimate self-serving, predatory and life destroying nature of this virus exemplifies life stripped of its moral foundations?
COVID-19 spread very rapidly around the globe and very quickly became a worldwide pandemic. At first it was met with denial and disbelief. Governments were unprepared to deal with its virulence and lethality. The primary weapon to combat this virus was social distancing and self-isolation: a physical reflection and revelation of how we have been living as a society.
Although there were those who selfishly, intentionally disregarded this policy and chose their desires over protecting the vulnerable, for the most part communities began to step outside of themselves. There was a greater awareness of how one's behavior could potentially impact others.
Parents, having to work from home, suddenly found themselves spending time with their children 24/7. Families were having to learn how to cooperate, compromise, and problem solve. Those living alone were needing to find ways of experiencing a greater sense of connectedness and belonging, as to not slip into the abyss of loneliness and despair. Heightened anxieties required having to effectively self-regulate. Amidst shattering perceptions of control, the "shut in" prompted examination of priorities and values.
Many questioned God's presence within this worldwide pandemic, feeling abandoned by God. During this critical time, when people were trying to understand this tragedy, churches and places of worship were shut down. Faith helps make sense of, and gives meaning to, adversity. The shutting down of churches and houses of prayer concretely reflect what recent polls reveal: a persistent increase in disaffiliation, agnosticism and atheism. These positions are based on a false premise: that we can be our own moral compass. God alone is the source of morality.
The "invisible" virus concretely reflects the "invisible" moral war being waged against our souls.
Yet, during the worst part of this pandemic, when anticipated numbers of positive cases and deaths were projected to be at their highest; when the duration of the "shut in" started to strain coping mechanisms; when it appeared as if a complete economic collapse was imminent — God placed the Feast of Christ's Resurrection into this time frame. God placed the Tree of Life before us. We were reminded to trust and not fear for Jesus conquered death by His own death on the Cross. We were reminded of what was truly most important in life: "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
How we emerge from this pandemic will be the true test and reflection of humanity. Will our priorities change? Will this change persist? Will we place greater value on the importance of family, community and interpersonal connections? Will we get back to the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity? Will we restore the primacy of human dignity? Will we turn to the Other, in Whom we find our true self?