There is no one target, there is no one perpetrator, and there is seemingly no…
From the Chapel — April 4: Hope in God
“From the Chapel” is a series of short, daily reflections on life and faith in a time of uncertainty. As people across the world cope with the effects of the coronavirus — including the social isolation necessary to combat its spread — these reflections remind us of the hope that lies at the heart of the Gospel.
It was a year ago this month that I lost my best friend.
Aaron D. Wolf went home to our Lord and Savior on April 21, 2019 — Easter Sunday. I knew no one — not even my own wife — as well as I knew Aaron, my coworker for 19 years and friend for 21.
Aaron, as I wrote in various tributes to him, was not a Catholic, but he made me a better one. I have never missed him as much as I do now. I wish that I could pick up the phone and hear his voice on the other end, because I know that he, unlike many of our former colleagues, readers of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and friends would have understood what we are facing. Aaron was never one to be cowed by ideologues who couldn’t see reality because their minds were entirely politicized. He stood up for truth always, recognizing, as true Christians always have, that all truth is of God.
Aaron was a Missouri Synod Lutheran, one of the tribe to which my father’s side of our family belonged. He and I had our disagreements on theology, but, as I often said, he was a better Catholic than most Catholics I know.
But Aaron, through his Lutheran theology, taught me many lessons as well. Martin Luther, for all of his faults (and I never failed to point them out to Aaron), had certain virtues, among them an unfailing trust in both the sovereignty and the mercy of God. No matter how awful things might look, Aaron knew that God is in charge.
We don’t know — we can’t know — how this crisis will end. But God knows. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Ps 43:5, King James Version).
As we prepare to enter into Holy Week in the midst of a global pandemic that will keep us from our parish churches, the only thing we can do is trust in God. Christ’s disciples themselves — all of whom, with the exception of St. John the Evangelist, would die for their belief in him — were afraid come Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Peter, the first pope, denied Christ more than once before the cock crowed.
We have no reason to be afraid. Unlike St. Peter, unlike the disciples on Holy Thursday night, we know that Christ is risen. We know that, when we pass from this life, our life will not end.
That does not mean that we should not mourn those who will die, nor that we should not try to save the most vulnerable among us. But our hope does not lie in doctors, and certainly not in politicians. Our hope lies in Christ, who will save our souls, even when our bodies fail us.
“[H]ope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Scott P. Richert is publisher for OSV.