As the COVID19 pandemic escalates, and the world shutdown reaches epic proportions, the critical nature of this global infection is nearly beyond imagination. We are told to keep our hands clean, avoid people who may be carrying the virus, avoid gatherings and social settings that could transfer the virus; if you have contracted the virus, self-quarantine. Avoid human to human contact if at all possible.
At this moment I am preparing to pick up my daughter who is flying direct from Vienna to the O-Hare International Airport. Any airport the size of O-Hare is especially conditioned to facilitate the spread of this highly contagious virus. She had a window of time to come home before all international travel is temporarily banned. The choice: To come home to the States or to remain in Slovakia during these troubled times.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t concerned about contracting the fast-spreading contagion. Yet, I am far more concerned about my daughter being in a foreign country, during these turbulent times, without my protection.
My daughter, Gabby is 20. She can manage on her own. And yet, a father’s heart never dies. He is innately a protector, a warrior who will do anything in his power to save his own–even entering O’Hare airport with the high possibility of contracting the coronavirus.
Though the COVID19 pandemic is disastrous and debilitating, there exists another virus that is faster spreading, more easily transferred, and far more deadly. It isn’t only transferred through human to human contact, but can be contracted while in isolation. It’s called sin. Unfortunately, most people don’t consider sin in this way. But it is a virus, and a malignant, deadly one at that. The methods to avoid this contagion are similar to avoiding the coronavirus: keep clean: get your soul to confession; avoid contact with those things that will communicate the virus; if you have caught the virus, don’t spread it, get to a spiritual doctor–a priest–right away.
The world anxiously awaits the creation of a vaccine for the COVID19. Yet, the Christian, the Catholic, has incredible confidence that the contagion of sin can be overcome by the vaccine of Christ’s sacrifice. By confessing our sins to a priest, and receiving Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we are washed with the ultimate vaccine–the blood of Christ. But because the “vaccine” for sin exists, people take it for granted, and ignore it. Perhaps people avoid getting the “Christ vaccination” because they don’t think they have the symptoms of sin. But they do–we all do.
The coronavirus has the potential to kill the body, but sin has the potential to kill the soul. The consequence of the latter is eternal. As a father, it is my duty to engage my warrior’s heart to ensure that my wife and children do not contract this virus, and that their souls are in the state of grace. And if they have, I need to get them to a spiritual doctor.
St. Joseph is the faithful and prudent servant placed over His Master’s house (see Lk 12). His duty was to protect the Holy Family, even at the expense of himself. You and I, as fathers made in the image of God the Father, will do well to learn from St. Joseph how to use our father-warrior heart to protect, provide and be the priest of our domestic church–our family.