Recently, while reflecting on the writings of Thomas À Kempis, I received a telephone call from a lady who explained how she was having feelings of anxiety due to the current problems in the world, but especially in reference to coronavirus (COVID-19). We spoke at length about how many people throughout the world are experiencing anxiety and that what we must do is put our full trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. She said, “I know Jesus said not to be anxious about anything, so I really feel bad that I do.” It seems that her chief concern was if the current outbreak turns to stricter government regulations. She expressed her thoughts about running out of food and medical supplies.
I explained that, when our faith is strong and our trust is in the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, He becomes our stronghold. We have nothing to fear, unless we ourselves decide to walk the path of darkness. To increase our faith, we imitate the life of Christ Himself. Of course, we also spoke about how our Lord has given us common sense to prepare for natural disasters or similar situations which we are experiencing today.
We can have peace of mind knowing that Christ is always with us, regardless of the chaos in the world. Recalling Thomas À Kempis’ comments, I read 1 John 8:12 to her. “He who follows Me, walks not in darkness.” Regarding this verse, Thomas À Kempis said, “By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort; therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ. The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.”
How wise is St. Thomas’ council for us, especially in light of modern events. If we strive to pattern our life after that or our Lord, to develop a strong prayer regimen, study the Gospel and receive the Body of Christ on a regular basis, we can strengthen our faith like never before. By these methods, we can deflect the world’s chaos and darkness with the light of God that has developed within us.
In this way we are seeking “first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” and all our anxieties can be lifted. When we seek God’s kingdom and Christ’s presence, we have no need to worry about tomorrow. (St. Matthew 6:33-34)
As we were finishing our telephone conversation, the lady said that she was already feeling better and that she would not allow fear and anxiety to control her life.
In what sometimes seems to be uncertain times, we need to make sure our priorities are in order. Pray each day for the courage and strength to keep going. Pray for others such as our bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters, and all our parishes so that they can shine as a light to the world in these perilous times. Be a comfort to your neighbour, provide for the needy as you are able. By this we can occupy our time with the interests of God’s kingdom, rather than being overly concerned with worldly affairs and political unrest. Be assured that there is nothing to fear, for Christ is with us. Guard your heart by leaning on our Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary and our fears will quickly dissipate.
“Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NAB)
May God bless you +