Recently, I got an unexpected call from a dear friend who was praying her daily rosary. She invited me to pray a decade with her on the phone. After catching up on who was home from college and everyone’s health, we mentioned our intentions and began the Third Sorrowful Mystery together. I was touched, I was lifted up, I was filled with grace by this simple call and short prayer time together.
After sleeping on it, I made it my goal to call five people to pray a decade of the rosary with on the phone, and low and behold, I ran out of decades. Being a resourceful Catholic with plenty of devotions to choose from, I called five more friends to pray a decade of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. When those ran out, I started praying some plain old Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s.
Of course, during those calls we talked about all things Covid-19, including how stressful it is to wipe, disinfect, and eliminate every possible little droplet of the virus that we may have come in contact with during our necessary trip to the grocery store or gas station. We are hyper-vigilant, hand sanitizer at the ready, disinfectant wipes in every room, scouring surfaces and nooks and crannies that could potentially contain this invisible, evil, enemy. What the eye can’t see has us all nervous and anxious, and willing to make any sacrifice to stay safe from it.
This virus isn’t the only invisible enemy that confronts us daily, lurking around every corner, waiting for the chance to infect us. Another one, Satan, the accuser of the brethren, the father of lies, “prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). Why haven’t we been just as relentless with him, wiping out every little droplet he sprays across our world with his sneezes of pride, hatred, and accusation?
Social media, the news, and our elected officials remind us every day of Covid-19. But no one talks about the devil much anymore. I wonder if we have forgotten how infectious he is, and have settled into thinking that he’s no concern of ours. We don’t think anymore about how he hangs in the air, polluting the surfaces of our televisions and media, infecting us with his lies and his subversion of everything that is good, true, and beautiful.
While hand sanitizer and bleach keep germs at bay, perhaps it’s time for us to grab our rosaries, our Bibles, our holy water, and our prayer cards and start keeping our spiritual enemies at bay. After all, as Jesus was certain to remind us:
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28)
This doesn’t mean that we should grow lax in our response to the virus. It just means that we have yet a far deadlier enemy that we cannot underestimate. There is no better time than now, when human lives are literally at stake, to vanquish both enemies as quickly as possible.
Jesus has given us everything we need so that the enemy we can’t see can be defeated. Our great vanquishing weapon is grace. Every day Christians are coming up with creative ways to receive this grace and share it with others:
Go to your parish’s drive-through Confession.
Start that prayer habit you’ve always known you needed to do but never took the steps to actually implement.
Offer to pray with people over the phone or through a quick Zoom meeting.
Have food delivered to your neighbor.
Walk the streets of your neighborhood and pray for every home and family.
Heal your broken relationships.
Call up your estranged brother and say, “I’m sorry.”
Let’s use this virus, a deadly physical enemy, as a reminder of an even deadlier spiritual enemy, and then get to work securing for ourselves and our communities a victory that lasts forever: the victory of heaven, where there will be no more sickness, suffering, disease, death, or evil of any kind.
What a glorious day that will be!