Virus normalcy, the so-called ‘new normal’, is for Christians almost certainly more abhorrent than it is for people of other religions and of no faith. Of course, we have people of other religions (Freemasons) and of no faith (atheists) in the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church and that is probably our biggest problem, as well as the fact that Pope Francis (wildly popular with Freemasons and atheists) leads the way in this feature of modern Catholic life. None were more keen to adapt to the new normal as Francis and none will I suspect be so keen as he to lead us to whatever hellish, inhuman, dystopian landscape the new normal leads us. Nearly all Bishops fell like dominos after Francis and we should never forget that terrifying precedent. Let us pray we are not reminded in Autumn.
The reason that I would argue the new normal is incompatible with Christianity is because ours is a passionately human Faith, our Faith loves our humanity in its imperfection and its vulnerability, because even though it is divine, it is incarnational. It is viscerally human. Our God is the Lord who spits on the earth to form clay and uses it to open the eyes of men born blind. God risks everything to show us His love. The Lord condescends to become human, to experience our frailty, to win us. Our Faith teaches us that we don’t readily seek out transmittable illness and suffering for ourselves, but that because God is with us, whether we live or whether we die, we inhabit a vale of tears in which risk is unavoidable. Everything in this world is temporary, including us.
Our Saints, our mystics, our Church fathers taught us that we should live in this world as we in reality are, as if we are passing through, as vulnerable and as short-lived in the sight of God, as a votive candle lit in the evening that burns down and is gone by the morning. St Francis of Assisi, St Clare of Assisi, so many Saints taught us that neither wealth nor health offer any valuable protection in this world, God alone is our Guardian and Protector, our Provider and our Saviour.
If we live, says St Paul, we live for the Lord and if we die, says the Apostle to the Gentiles, we die for the Lord. Our death and judgement is meant to be at the forefront of our minds, not to produce terror within us, but holy and filial fear of offending God. If we sin, we are promised forgiveness if we sincerely repent. When we die, we want to be embraced by the Lord in His mercy and dwell forever in the presence of his holy ones. We live as men already under sentence of death, we hope for merciful reprieve from the Divine Majesty when we die. Our ordinary human state is corruptible and wretched, but we are made holy by God, the God who divinizes us with His very self and we are called to be holy both in body and soul. Our bodies, if faithful, will on the last day be glorified beyond all our understanding. Health in this world is a blessing, but perhaps even more of a blessing is to be chastened even in a small way in this world, so that we yearn for the next.