Our Faith teaches us that God sometimes allows trials to come upon our world in order to bring about a greater good, namely our repentance and conversion, so that we may turn away from what leads us to eternal death and experience his mercy.
“Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death. Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1500-1501
Our response in the face of calamity should always be to pray, trusting in the goodness and love of God, but also repenting of our sins and praying for God to have mercy on us and the world. We should not be anxious, but we should take serious our need to pray, repent and do penance as a means of making reparation for our sins and the sins of the world. We should keep our eyes fixed upon the face of our loving God and not lose either our peace or our hope. We must nourish our hearts and our minds with spiritual reading, meditation on Sacred Scripture and devotions. We must remember God’s goodness and all He has done for us, even in the midst of difficulty. And our faith must also look with kindness and assistance to those around us who are suffering and in need.
Is the current Covid 19 pandemic a punishment from God? The short answer is that we don’t know. But we do know that God has used physical chastisement throughout salvation history to turn people back to Him when they have gone astray, much like a parent would discipline their child to teach them to avoid harmful behavior. And we know that our world has been turning further and further away from God with increasing iniquity. It would certainly not be surprising if God were to remove His hand of protection to allow us to experience the folly of our sins.
Consider the response of Jesus when asked if a particular calamity in his day was a punishment for sin:
“He answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’” Luke 13: 2-3
Although it is difficult to know for certain if any particular suffering is a punishment from God, we know that God does use suffering to punish sin and that there are repeated warnings in the Bible that God will punish those who remain unrepentant in their sins.
We also know that both the good and the bad have to suffer, that suffering is a necessary part of the Christian life, and that Suffering can be Redemptive.
Please consider the following discussions on the topic of Mary’s warnings to us of our need to repent:
Our Lady of Fatima told the three young shepherd children that “the sins which cause most souls to go to hell are the sins of the flesh.” These sins are certainly not lacking in our world today.
On July 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima Showed a Vision of Hell and Taught Us How to Avoid It article by Joseph Pronechen, July 13, 2017, National Catholic Register
“The Times Are Urgent and We Must Heed the Warnings of Our Lady” article by Msgr Charles Pope, 10/10/2017, National Catholic Register
Is the Coronavirus Pandemic a Judgment From God? article by Mary Healy, 4/2/20, National Catholic Register
Our Lord revealed to St. Faustina (who died in 1938) that she was to prepare the world for His final coming. (Diary 429)
Speak to the world about My mercy … It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy. (Diary 848)
Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (Diary 965).
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation. (Diary 1160)
Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. (Diary 1588)
He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary 1146).
In 1981, Our Lady of Fatima warned through Sr. Lucia that the final battle will be against marriage and the family. Are we not seeing this today?
Fatima – An Urgent Warning, by Renewal Ministries: This 28 minute video is the second part of a three-part series. Ralph Martin concludes a presentation on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal in 1917, with a message very much relevant for today.