The current lock downs, restrictions, and mask wearing are causing much suffering and anguish. This is being seen in the increased prevalence of suicides, anxiety, psychological and emotional issues. People are on edge as they try to adjust to what the global leaders are calling the ‘new normal’. Disorder, anxiety, and confusion reign. The chains of restrictions are becoming tighter and they are slowly suffocating people (in both a metaphorical and actual sense with the forcing of masks on people). These restrictions are trying to suffocate and extinguish the natural enjoyments people have, such as visiting loved ones, healthy social interaction, hobby restrictions, etc. People are beginning to be fed up with all of these restrictions, especially as Christmas approaches. They earnestly desire to get back to ‘normal’ life. Eventually, the pressure of these abnormal conditions may prove so much that they may just take that vaccine that they were very skeptical about in the first place.
There are others, a minority, who will refuse the vaccine and push back against the government enforcement of it. Most of these will be basing this stance on the erroneous principles that have brought us to where we are currently at in the first place, i.e. liberalism. They will shout and push for ‘freedom’ without really understanding what freedom is. In the last article, it was highlighted how this desire for freedom amongst many is really a desire for licence to continue in their ‘normal’ sinful life. At a societal level, it appears clear that the lessons that the good God is trying to teach us are not being learnt. Yet, at a personal level, even amidst the madness, chaos, and disorder around us, we still have the choice of freedom or chains. In our clamour to push back against the COVID restrictions and the chains they put around our natural liberties, it appears that many of us are forgetting that the biggest chains we have are those we put around ourselves through sin. This is the major point to remember in these communist times and it is the point again and again emphasised by many spiritual writers.
Where is our focus?
Trying to fix things around us can feel so much easier and more rewarding than fixing those things within us that we know we need to get a handle on. As Dom Gerard Chautard, in his classic book, ‘The Soul of the Apostolate’ (1), points out: ‘To live with oneself, within oneself; to desire self-control, and not allow oneself to be dominated by exterior things; to reduce the imagination, the feelings, and even the intelligence and memory to the position of servants of the will and to make this will conform, without ceasing, with the will of God: all this is a program that is less and less welcome to a century of excitement that has seen the birth of a new ideal: the love of action for action’s sake. Any pretext will serve, if we can only escape this discipline of our faculties: business, family problems, health, good reputation, patriotism, the honour of one’s congregation, and the pretended glory of God, all vie with one another in preventing us from living within ourselves. This sort of frenzy for exterior life finally succeeds in gaining over us an attraction which we can no longer resist.’ This ‘century of excitement’ he talks about was the 19th century, when there were no TVs, no 24/7 news channels, far fewer disturbances by social justice warriors, and far more people who lived simple countryside lives, detached from worldly affairs. The frenzy for exterior life has only erupted further since that ‘century of excitement’. The 20th century and the start of the 21st century have been filled with people desperate to avoid and distract themselves from themselves. Now, lest people accuse Dom Chautard of encouraging all people to become contemplative hermit monks, ‘The Soul of the Apostolate’ explains how he is far from advocating for passivity and it explains how the interior life fuels the exterior life. He simply speaks about getting one’s priorities right before one embarks on a campaign to sort out the world’s problems. A reminder of this is essential especially in times where people are so eager to fix the current madness around them (2). The current times can exhaust, perplex, and depress us so it is now, more than ever, that we need strong interior lives built on the love of God. As Dom Chautard explains, ‘Only a burning and unchangeable love is capable of filling a whole life with sunlight, for it is love that possesses the secret of gladdening the heart even in the midst of great sorrows and crushing fatigue.’ It is this ‘burning and unchangeable love‘ that will see us through these mad times.
And for those who need a bit more persuading to be convinced that sin causes imprisonment see here a rousing sermon by Fr Chazal, a missionary priest in the Philippines, who highlights how the draconian restrictions and chains that the world and the devil are putting on people today is only a relatively minor reflection of the chains so many people put on themselves by refusing to serve the right Master.
God bless you in your efforts to sanctify yourself and may you find brave priests during these times to help you to do so.
1.) A free pdf copy of this book is available here: http://www.cmri.org/0-olmc-mission/catholic-books/soul_of_the_apostolate.pdf
2.) There has been an enormous increase in psychological services over the 20th century as psychological and emotional problems continue to increase as people have drift further and further away from the Faith and the effective solutions to problems of the soul and mind, i.e. the Sacraments and a strong interior life. Please see here for a short outline of this development of psychological services and its connection to the false theory of evolution. Now, there are some people genuinely looking for and longing for the Truth and the truth about themselves. God will guide these generous souls to Him and He will help them to see through the lies and deceits of those who claim to help but are really entangling people in more chains, e.g. the Psychological Society of Ireland and psychiatry, in general. But more often, due to the scars of Original Sin, especially pride, we do not search long or hard enough for the truth about ourselves as we are afraid to admit the extent of our own misery and uselessness. We will distract ourselves often with many activities where we think that we are making a positive impact on the world. If we do go for therapy, most of us will only accept help from those who offer ‘sweet little lies’, while trying to numb the voice of our conscience that tells us that all is not right with the answers that are proposed to us. We can face our conscience and overcome this fear of our own wretchedness by looking at the infinite love and care that God has for us as Fr Chazal briefly touches on in the video above. Through this, we can acknowledge and bravely face the truth about ourselves and, with our willing co-operation, begin to allow Him to heal us. This is the path to true liberty.