“Do not be Afraid; Just Have Faith” - Mark 5:36
Time for people of faith to make a public stand before that is no longer an option
You know that our entire society is being manipulated by irrational fears. You have seen the panic porn the media has been pumping for almost a year. You have tried to talk with your friends who have been captured by the enemy and his allies and wrapped in the chains of uncontrollable fear, but it seems hopeless. The chain’s links are thick and impenetrable.
Fear is a naturally occurring human emotion caused by chemicals being dropped into our bodies by the ancient/lizard part of our brain called the amygdala. When a potentially threatening encounter occurs, the amygdala triggers the well-known flight or fight response. It happens so fast that the other parts of our brain lag behind. Once a response to a threat has begun, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex begin to make sense of the threat and place it in either the real or non-threatening category. These same chemicals are closely related to feelings of happiness and excitement,  which explains why horror films, which induce these chemical drops but are not real threats, are so popular.
An actual Karen walking her dog alone on a deserted street yesterday was succumbing again to her fears by wearing her mask(s) and walking abnormally fast. At least she doesn’t run into her house anymore if you pass by her property in your car with the windows up. She does dutifully wear a mask whenever she paddle boards by herself on the water. What can we possibly feel for her other than mercy or pity?
Fear is a naturally occurring emotion, but not one that we should be wrapped in for months or years on end. That kind of crippling long-term fear is always the work of Satan.
Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us…
10 Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.
11 Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.
12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Note: For those unfamiliar with angels, principalities and powers are two of the choirs (groups) of angels, which can be either angels of light or fallen angels in league with Lucifer.
As we hear in this Pauline letter, the battle we are in is spiritual at its heart, as all battles ultimately are. Thus, it is not winnable purely in the physical realm no matter what you might hear. Drawing others to our reasoned political opinions will not do it, a civil war will not do it, introducing others to God and our Lord Jesus Christ could.
This piece of scripture lays out a solid battle plan, stay close to the Lord in prayer and the Sacraments, expect and prepare for the enemy’s attack, and take part in the struggle. For some of us, that participation may be exclusively prayer, as it would be for a sequestered Carmelite Nun. It is however clear that most of are being called beyond that, but too many of us are bound in fear. It is my experience that non-life-threatening fear is overcome and can become a source of growth only by walking into it, just ask Jonah.
If you follow the Novus Ordo readings of the Roman Catholic Church, you heard the latter part of the story of Jonah as the first reading this weekend. Here Jonah has listened to the Lord and entered the city of Nineveh to call them to repentance and salvation by warning them that their city would be destroyed in 40 days. The crazy part is that they listen, repent, and are saved. Is there someone out there reading this right now who is being called to leave their comfort zone, step through their fear, and present the Love of Jesus to one other person? For sure! Is there someone reading this who is called to this same task for a group of people, a village, a city, state, or our entire country? I sure hope so.
You may remember that Jonah did not at first jump on the opportunity to enter the city of his enemies and call them to repentance, as fun as that might sound. Neither did he hide in his basement with a mask, but instead tried to run away to Tarshish. You might remember how well that worked out for him. Once his ship sailed into the sea, the Lord called up a great storm, to save the ship Jonah has the sailors throw him overboard, is swallowed by a great fish, and is eventually vomited onto dry land three days later.
Do you think Jonah was more, or less, afraid than we are of being mask shamed, ostracized, fired, or cancelled? (BTW The movie The Social Dilemma - https://www.thesocialdilemma.com/ does an excellent job of looking at how intentionally addictive social media is, shedding light on the psychological effects of our cancel culture).
The storm we are currently in has been brewing for decades. God is asking each of us to stand up in our own way and fight for faith in Him. The Lord doesn’t want to throw us into the sea but is willing to do so if that is our only path to fulfilling our mission and reaching Heaven.
Satan’s allies are strong and usually easy to flush out if you follow the money and power. Who has profited from Covid and the panic around it: the press/media, big tech including big pharma, Amazon, Walmart, petty tyrants and those in power with tyrannical tendencies, etc. This is not to say that all people involved in these are knowingly or willingly in league with Satan, but some certainly are. Lord Acton’s proverb from 1887, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” seems like an appropriate warning in our times.
Who are the victims in this crisis? Certainly, those who have died of actual Covid and their loved ones, but also those who are alone and lonely, those who have fallen into addiction and depression, those who are in those chains of fear, small businesses prevented from opening, churches, in other words ordinary folks just trying to live their lives in peace. Those who have gained power, money, or both are unlikely to be satisfied with a return to the prior status quo. Knowing this can help us to anticipate the enemy’s attacks and find allies in the struggle.
By now it should be clear that standing on the sidelines is not what most of us are being asked to do in this battle between Good and evil. Hiding from public engagement is simply not an option in line with our salvation nor that of others if the Lord is calling us to something more. Unless of course, we love damp environments and the close up smell of seafood.
It may not seem easy to find our particular calling, but you probably already know within your heart the first step or two you are being asked to take. Maybe you are called to stop wearing masks (https://candidcatholic.substack.com/p/the-mask-wars-intensify), or contact that lonely loved one, or calmly question someone pushing public panic, or form a group of faithful fellow travelers. If you feel deep inside that God is calling you to take a step now, then please do, provided that whatever you do non-violent. History has proven that violence will not help in this spiritual battle. The next installment of Candid Catholic Insights will go into some of these ideas and practical steps in greater detail. In the meantime, taking our first steps will help get us on our proper path.
Remember always that God loves you, and that Jesus is walking with you on this difficult journey.
Next up in this series – The Church of Nice and then Get off the Plantation
This recently begun series of articles can be found at https://candidcatholic.substack.com/. Please like and/or comment on these posts, and if you enjoy them please feel free to share them with others and ask them to subscribe to the email list. Thanks so much!