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By John Horvat II

 

While a greater percentage of the world is getting whipped up into a hysteria over the coronavirus, as Catholics we need to pause, pray and seek a supernatural solution. While the virus has yet to display its full fury, the global reaction to it is at a frenzy. There are two spectacles taking place: the coronavirus and the fear of the Media gatheringcoronavirus that might be called “coronaphobia.”

At this point, the fear is spreading at a much faster rate than the actual virus, due in a large part to the media.

People are terrified by the virus since it introduces them to an unknown world. It is a mysterious disease from a faraway totalitarian land. Everyone mistrusts the data coming out of China. The virus’s highly contagious and unpredictable nature adds to the generalized fear. Media hype and images multiply the impact of the disease by sensationalizing its every advance.

Thus, coronaphobia is raging all over the world. It has slowed down economies, shaved off trillions of dollars in stock prices, stopped church services and paralyzed cities. It is shaping politics as world leaders are put to the test to meet the grave challenge of this contagion.

 

A Real Threat

Of course, the coronavirus does present real risks. Reasonable measures must be taken. Like all cases of flu, people become sick and die. Those with weak immune systems are especially vulnerable. Its victims tend to be frail people with pre-existing conditions.

However, two factors make this threat different and more terrifying than the flu cases that take tens of thousands of lives yearly. The first is that it can strike quickly and indiscriminately. The second is that there are no vaccines against it. Thus, people sense general helplessness in the face of a tiny virus that is bringing a fragile and interconnected world to its knees.

 

The Causes of the Fear

No one likes to say it, but what triggers coronaphobia is the Hobbesian fear of death that so haunts the modern mind. Each person sees in a coronavirus death his or her possible death. This paranoiac fear causes demands that every possible means be employed against this remote threat even if they appear excessive. This desperate drama creates conditions in which people will even give up rights and liberties to avoid catching the virus.

Coronaphobia is caused by a society where the enjoyment of life is the supreme value. That is why the full might of the medical establishment must be mobilized with such passion. Everything must be done to prolong the lives of those who still enjoy life and have little thought about the hereafter.

Yet not all life is equally valued in today’s hedonistic culture. The same medical establishment that scrambles to treat coronavirus victims snuffs out thousands of lives daily, through abortion and euthanasia, so that others might free themselves from responsibilities and “enjoy” life.

 

Living in Denial

Coronaphobia explains why there is so much hype around the issue. In a culture that adores pleasure, life-threatening viruses overwhelm and crush psyches unaccustomed to thinking about death and suffering. People look for any way to escape this unpleasant reality.

To avoid any profound thinking about the virus, people surround it with noise and agitation, in the hope that the din might scare it away. To find quick fixes for the problem, they loudly demand urgent action, even if it flies in the face of commonsense. In their helplessness, they fill themselves with resentment and anger, blaming others for their misfortune.

Fear rules in such circumstances. People will do anything to avoid having to face the crisis alone, in all its seriousness. The festival of hype smothers everything in a frenetic intemperance of collective denial.

 

The Cure for Coronaphobia

There is a cure for coronaphobia. It involves facing reality with all objectivity. People must neither overreact nor minimize the dangers. They must face the virus, calmly and with common sense, utilizing the standard means by which strong flu cases are combatted.

Coronaphobia can only be overcome by those who dare to think beyond the pleasures of life. Tragedy invites people to reflect on human mortality and contingency. Inside the silence of reflection, people find meaning and purpose for their sufferings. They find the courage to act effectively, embracing reality, not denying it.

Above all, tragedy leads people to trust in God and His Providence. The limitations of a purely secular society are made patent when tragedies of this sort strike. Humanity is left to its own devices and finds them woefully insufficient. Throughout history, when faced with tribulation, the faithful have had recourse to God and have found solace and aid. That is why the Church has always played such a great role during times of calamity. Instead of prohibiting church services, authorities should encourage the Church to hold more. This trust is the only sure cure for the devastating coronaphobia that ravages the world.

 


 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for October 29, 2020

An action of small value performed with much love of God is...

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October 29

 

An action of small value
performed with much love of God
is far more excellent
than one of a higher value
performed with less love of God.

St. Francis de Sales


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Narcissus of Jerusalem

Accused of an atrocious crime, which Eusebius does not speci...

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St. Narcissus of Jerusalem

Born toward the end of the first century, Narcissus was advanced in age when he was elected bishop of Jerusalem. Many miracles were attributed to the saintly prelate, one of which the historian Eusebius relates: the deacons being out of oil for the lamps to be used in the Easter Vigil liturgical solemnities, the bishop bade them draw water from a well. Pronouncing a blessing over this water, he poured it into the lamps, and it immediately turned to oil to the astonishment of all the faithful. Some of this oil was still preserved when Eusebius wrote of the miracle.
The general veneration of all good men for this holy bishop could not shelter him from evil tongues. Three incorrigible sinners, resentful of Narcissus’ strictness in the observance of ecclesiastical discipline, accused him of an atrocious crime, which Eusebius does not specify. They stressed the “truth” of their shameless slander by terrible oaths: one wished that he would perish by fire, the other to be struck with leprosy, and the other that he to be made blind.

Despite the fact that the faithful unwaveringly believed their bishop innocent, Narcissus – notwithstanding the shock of the detestable calumny – retired into solitude.

Sometime later, divine vengeance pursued the calumniators:  the first man died with his whole family in a fire that consumed his home; the second contracted leprosy, and the third, deeply repentant, died blind from the amount of tears he shed.

So that Jerusalem was not left without a pastor, the surrounding bishops appointed three consecutive pastors to lead the church. On the third bishop’s term, Narcissus reappeared, as one returned from the dead. His innocence having been authentically proven, his whole flock wished to reinstate him. Narcissus acquiesced, but because of his great age, he soon asked St. Alexander to be his coadjutor.

Narcissus continued to serve his flock and even other churches by his earnest prayers and exhortations as St. Alexander testifies in a letter to the Arsinoites in Egypt. In this letter he writes that Narcissus was, at that time, one hundred and sixteen years old. The Roman Martyrology honors his memory on October 29.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Vero...

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The Rosary Saves Soldiers in Kuwait

Veronica first learned of the Rosary as a small girl watching her father fingering the beads. At first she thought he was “playing” with the shiny strand, but later, realizing the full meaning of her father’s action, and under the promptings of Grace, she became a devotee of the Rosary as well.

The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Veronica, who felt the Blessed Mother’s protection in her life. But then, when her youngest son, Randy, was stationed in Kuwait during Desert Storm, the devotion was to play a crucial role.

While attending a convention of Catholic Women, and greatly concerned for her son’s safety, she confided to a presiding priest that Randy was serving overseas. The good priest then suggested she and others in the group join him in praying a Rosary for Randy’s safety and other pressing intentions. Something compelled Father and the ladies not only to say five decades, but to persevere for several hours.

Two weeks later Veronica received a letter from her son in which he described that he and fellow soldiers had been in a harrowing conflict. As the bullets whizzed by, he feared for his and his buddies’ lives and prayed with all his heart. Suddenly, a great calm came over him and he heard a voice, “from the sky” that assured him they would be alright.

Conferring dates and times, mother and son marvelled at finding that the time in which he and the others were in dire peril was the same day and hour Father, Veronica and her friends were persevering in reciting the Rosary.


Note: Based on a story from 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC

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The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Veronica, who felt the Blessed Mother’s protection in her life.

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