Manly Lessons from Coronavirus

So we find ourselves with really no end in sight for this pandemic, and still, life and responsibilities continue. Men are still called during pandemics, plagues and pestilences, to Lead, Protect and Provide. We are still called as men, husbands and fathers to sacrifice for the benefit of our families and the common good. Many men are finding new and creative ways to continue in the fulfillment of their natural vocations. However, I daresay, many are also floundering and struggling with great temptations during this time of isolation.

This blog today is meant for those who are struggling. Take courage my brothers! God has already won the victory over sin and death. St. Augustine wrote in the 5th Century and his words, like so often with this great saint, seem timeless for us today:

“‘The times are troubled! The times are bad!’ This is what we humans say. But we are our times. If only we would live properly, our times would be good. Such as we are, such are our times.” Sermon 80, 8

Brothers, we need to live each day like we have been called to live from our Lord.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Mt. 22:37-40).

The manly thing to do is to carry on in the manner which we should have been doing pre-coronavirus outbreak. Now here is where the rubber hits the road:

Were you living in such ways prior to this pandemic?

That is a question and perhaps the greatest lesson we could get from this global crisis. Life is a gift and many of us have taken it completely for granted. If there is any good to come from this plague right now, its that, people are recognizing the fragility of life and that death does, in fact, come like a “thief in the night” and so we must live as Jesus instructed (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom the master has put in charge of the servants in the household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns (Matthew 24:42-46 with emphasis).

We need to live a life good and pleasing to the Lord. Many need to take a spiritual inventory at this point in time. Even the church goers need to evaluate ourselves and our so-called pious devotions and practices. Us as Catholics, need to seriously reflect on our sinfulness and attitude towards God’s heavenly gifts to us.

The Eucharist has become very pedestrian among God’s people. Now that we are being deprived this great sacrament, some of us, this writer especially, is coming to know how dependent we are and should be on this great life source. The Eucharist is the nourishment of our souls. It is the life giving food that sustains us for our earthly journeys and enables us to fulfill our duties as the good servant does in Matthew 24 whom the Master finds doing the work he has tasked him to do.

So the manly questions for us all are these:

Are we doing the work the Lord has asked us to do?

Is God truly at the center of our lives?

Does our daily decisions revolve around God or me?

Don’t be foolish, the Lord has spelled out everything for us in the Scriptures. Read your bible brothers and be ready. There are no major secrets here. God has revealed how he will be coming one day (Read all of Matthew 24). Pay attention to the signs of the times.

Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famine and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

…Because of the increase of the wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved’…” (Matthew 24:4-8, 12-13).

I invite you to read all of these powerful words that speak to our present times and circumstances. Scripture is God’s word breathed and we must rely on it for times such as these. But the Lord comforts us when he says, “see to it that you are not alarmed.” Stay focused on Christ and the work he has called you to as a man, husband, father and leader, protector and provider. I believe if we do that, there is nothing we have to fear, not even death.

Yours in Christ,

Mark Houck