Psalm 55, Verse 6
FEAR and trembling overwhelm me; shuddering sweeps over me.
*[Psalm 55] The psalmist, betrayed by intimate friends (Ps 55:14–15, 20–21), prays that God punish those oath breakers and thus be acknowledged as the protector of the wronged. The sufferings of the psalmist include both ostracism (Ps 55:4) and mental turmoil (Ps 55:5–6), culminating in the wish to flee society (Ps 55:7–9). The wish for a sudden death for one’s enemies (Ps 55:16) occurs elsewhere in the Psalms; an example of such a death is the earth opening under the wicked Dathan and Abiram (Nm 16:31–32). The psalmist, confident of vindication, exhorts others to a like trust in the God of justice (Ps 55:23). The Psalm is not so much for personal vengeance as for a public vindication of God’s righteousness now. There was no belief in an afterlife where such vindication could take place.
Overcoming fear of COVID 19
- Faith: Through the virtue of faith, we believe in God and all that he has said to us. The saints stand as giants of faith that we can strive to imitate during this time. If you’re stuck at home these days, read the life of any saint (online or through a book) and you will see what I mean. It is abundantly clear how their faith kept them strong in the most challenging of situations.
If we are living in undue fear right now, then we are not living in faith. Our faith starts with us trusting God in prayer and surrendering ourselves completely to him. If we trust that we have a father in heaven who knows our needs, before we even ask for them (Matthew 6:8), then we can trust that God will be with us during this tumultuous time and see us through it – even if the particular trials in our lives become especially burdensome.
- Hope: Hope keeps us from discouragement and is the quality by which we anchor our souls in Christ. We should certainly be prudent and careful during this time. After all, there is a real possibility of catching the virus that is going around. But we should also place our hope in our all-powerful God.
Throughout history, there have been countless natural and man-made disasters, but God has never forsaken his people. As the psalmist tells us:
“God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.”
In addition, never forget that we are not made for this world – we are made for heaven. And while we should certainly live in the hope of a better tomorrow in this world, we should also pray for a greater outpouring of the virtue of hope in our lives, so that we may even more ardently desire to one day enjoy the kingdom of heaven and eternal life.
- Love: Among countless lessons that Jesus taught us through his Cross, two are particularly of value during this pandemic. The first is that Jesus showed us that love is expressed in action. There are people all around us right now who are alone or who may need help in various ways. Love them in action. This may involve helping your elderly neighbor get groceries. Or it may require you to give your spouse a night off as he/she deals with the new reality of working from home (including possibly a home filled with screaming kids). It may also be a good idea to reflect on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy to see how else you can love others in action.
The second lesson I wish to highlight from the Cross is its sacrificial dimension. Jesus showed us his love through sacrifice – dying to himself – by dying on the Cross. Everyone’s nerves are a bit frayed as we continue to grapple with the unknowns and ever-changing situations related to this current pandemic. Seize every opportunity you get to make sacrifices – big or small – for someone else in these days.
Love is at the heart of the Christian faith and in these difficult times, we can witness to our faith in the way we love God and those around us. The greatest benefit of acting through the virtue of love is that the fruits of love are joy, peace and mercy (CCC 1829) – all of which are much-needed right now.
Living our lives rooted in faith, hope and love, especially during this pandemic, will root us more deeply in God, not just for the Lenten season, but for beyond it too. We don’t know how this pandemic will unfold and how it will continue to affect us. But we know God. We can trust and hope in God.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?”
Vincent Price-RIP Oct 25, 1993
Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s Vincent was a staple of the Halloween season. Trained on the London stage, Price started out as an actor for mainstream films in the 1940s, and worked for prestigious directors like Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Otto Preminger and Cecil B. DeMille. But he never really made his mark in the film business until he segued into the horror genre. Despite being immensely talented, at 6’4”, Vinnie was just too tall to make it as a Hollywood leading man, where the ideal male height was around 6’, give or take an inch or two on either side. (Price’s great friend and fellow horror icon, Sir Christopher Lee, faced the same problem: at 6’5” he was even taller than Vinnie.) In addition to the height issue, as the 50s marched on, Vinnie’s classic, stage-trained acting style would eventually be considered “old-fashioned,” and pushed aside in favor of the more “naturalistic” acting styles of younger actors such as Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Paul Newman.
In classic horror, however, a stage-trained acting style and perfect diction—which Price had in spades—were considered assets, because so many plots featured evil aristocrats, sinister industrialists, or cultivated mad scientists. He made so many horror films that by the time he passed on in 1993 at the age of 82, Price had become world-famous, beloved by millions.
· Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph
· Monday: Litany of Humility