Even amidst illness and death, God's love and mercy shine through.
Illness and disease are physical evils, as St. Augustine taught, and not in the original plan for human life, as Aquinas reaffirmed. Mankind was offered freedom from concupiscence, suffering and death, but Adam rejected it, leaving us susceptible to illness and pandemics like the Wuhan virus.
However, since God is Love (1 John 4:8), He wills to bring good out of the evil we unleash. Even though leftist media and politicians continue following the Evil One to divide and destroy us, if we look closely we can see plenty of good coming from this deadly pandemic. Consider:
As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Without access to intimacy with Christ in the Eucharist, Catholics have come up with other, creative ways to love their eucharistic Lord.
Priests have taken Jesus, truly and substantially present in the consecrated Host, to the skies. Flying over various parts of the world, many people are being blessed this way without even knowing it.
Fr. Majdi Allawi, a Maronite priest and ex-Muslim, hired a private plane to fly over the nation of Lebanon to bless his country and protect it from the Wuhan virus. Equipped with a cross, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a monstrance, Allawi flew over Beirut and surrounding areas for two hours as he pleaded with God to bless and heal Lebanon. He explained his course of action as a special prayer to implore our Lord to "bless the country, protect the homeland and heal those who have been infected by the virus."
With New Jersey being a hotspot for the virus, Fr. Anthony Manuppella, pastor of St. Gianna Beretta Molla Parish in Northfield, New Jersey, took the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the skies above the Diocese of Camden, and prayed for God's protection for the sick to be healed and for the end of this "modern day plague, the coronavirus."
"While we're up in the plane, with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of our Blessed Mother, I'll be chanting the litany of the saints because traditionally that is the prayer that we've said in the past when countries, especially in Europe, have been hit by the various plagues," Manuppella said before making his holy trip.
Father Gervan Menezes, too, took Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to the skies above his diocese of Nashville to bless his people and implore the Lord to protect them from the pandemic. "We want to do something," Menezes said. "Prayer is something we all can do."
Ever since Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas tweeted a challenge to every Catholic priest to lead eucharistic processions at their parishes, it has been occurring in every corner of the globe.
Bishop Kevin Vann of the diocese of Orange County led a eucharistic procession around Christ Cathedral, asking for protection against the pandemic.
In Sudbury, Massachusetts, Fr. Gerald Souza had adoration and then led a eucharistic procession for his parishioners around Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, concluding with benediction on the building's front steps.
Many more priests have followed suit. Hundreds of shepherds have taken to the barren streets with the eucharistic Christ as the faithful make the Sign of the Cross from inside their homes or kneel before Christ's presence.
Carmelite priest Fr. Justin Cinnante, riding on the back of an open truck, carried the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of hotspot New Rochelle to bless the people there.
Other creative worship includes drive-up confessions, livestreaming Masses and eucharistic adoration from the window of a church.
In Michigan, St. Thomas Chaldean Church took the initiative to offer the latter. Its large parking lot was filled to capacity with worshippers sitting in their cars with their headlights on — adoring Jesus Christ in the monstrance through the church's large glass window.
Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire Bp. Peter Libasci has brought the Blessed Sacrament to all parts of the Granite State, blessing medical workers, patients and first responders. Libasci went outside Manchester's Catholic Medical Center to bless health care workers and patients with the eucharistic Lord raised in a large monstrance. "No matter what, the Lord always traveled around the cities and towns," the bishop said. "He healed the sick."
A Ugandan priest followed his conscience by celebrating Mass after a governmental order not to. He was arrested and subsequently released. Father Deogratius Kiibi Kateregga was arrested at St Joseph's Catholic Parish last week, celebrating Mass with 15 parishioners in attendance. Also, in India, two priests, two seminarians and three religious sisters were charged with violating government orders after a Mass was celebrated in a chapel at the minor seminary of the Congregation of Missionaries of Faith.
Some laypeople are encouraging more priests and bishops to offer public Masses in creative ways that will keep everyone safe. In collaboration with moral theologian Janet Smith, Lifepetitions.com has created a petition for Catholics to sign, pleading with bishops to make the sacraments more available to the faithful in this time of crisis.
Some Protestant congregations have taken over old drive-in theaters with their screens and radio transmitters to celebrate Sunday services. Everyone stays in their cars at a safe distance from everyone else.
As Church Militant reported Wednesday, this crisis has brought unbelievers to their knees — to beg mercy from the God they supposedly don't believe in. A recent study has found one in five nonbelievers are praying to God. Among these nonreligious, personal crisis or tragedy is cited the most common reason found for praying, one in four saying they pray to gain comfort or feel less lonely. The present pandemic is considered such a crisis by a growing number of people.
More silver lining can be found in the mitigation of harm and death. According to the Vice report, "sex-reassignment" surgeries are being postponed and canceled in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand and elsewhere due to the virus scare.
The same is occurring with abortion. Many appointments have been canceled or not made at all due to social distancing fears, and a growing number of states are banning all abortions as "non-essential," including Ohio, Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky. One can only guess how many children will be saved due to this, but it could number in the tens of thousands.
Contraception has also been scarcer due to factories in China and India slowing the manufacture of chemical and rubber contraceptives, and doctors reluctant at making appointments due to distancing concerns. Almost all chemical contraception, including the common birth control pill, are abortifacients that intermittently cause very early abortions in women.
There will be a great battle for the direction of temporal society and Church practice once this crisis is over. The forces of Hell will be at the top of their game, as will the children of God. The Church will need to be at full strength when this happens.