Sunday, March 22, 2020

Is this Hell?

As I was laying in bed this morning, pondering what has been going on, what continues to play out before us, especially being cut off from Mass and the Eucharist, it occurred to me, this is a bit like Hell.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines Hell as “The state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed, reserved for those who refuse by their own free choice to believe and be converted from sin, even to the end of their lives.”  Granted, our exclusion is not by our free choice.  However, through the suspension of public Mass, we are excluded from communion with God in a real way.  We are not able to be in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. 

As painful as this exclusion is, it is still only partial exclusion.  We can watch a Mass being broadcast in some fashion which allows us to hear the word of God being proclaimed and broken open to us in the minster’s homily.  We can use that hour to praise God, to worship Him and his son Jesus our Christ.  Every day we can, and should - pandemic or not - pause and pray privately.  But we are still excluded from the Eucharist, from full communion with God.

The pain from this exclusion is real for me, and judging by the reaction of Catholics on Facebook, the pain is real for others too.  So, if a partial exclusion from communion with God is painful just two weeks into the suspension of Mass, I can’t fathom what full exclusion from God… for eternity… would be like!  I pray that I don’t do something that would self-exclude me from God.  And without a doubt, I pray for everyone, especially during this global medical crisis.  While I don’t believe God did this to punish us, our loving father certainly will use this pandemic to bring about something good. 

In the peace of Christ,

Deacon Mike

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