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Spiritual Struggles in Lockdown

Audio only:

Fr. Hugh Barbour and Catholic Answers’ president, Christopher Check, acknowledge the struggles that people are experiencing during this challenging time of coronavirus lockdown. They address how we, as Catholics Christians, can best react and deal with the loneliness, anger, sadness, and other feelings that such a crisis has generated.


Christopher Check:
Welcome to Catholic Answers Focus. My name is Christopher Check. I am president of Catholic Answers, sitting in for your usual host, Cy Kellett. Catholic Answers Focus is our podcast here at Catholic Answers, where we don’t take calls. It’s a podcast. We dig a little deeper on the topics that come to us frequently on the radio show, on Catholic Answers Live. We’re very fortunate to have in studio with us today our dear friend and chaplain, Father Hugh Barbour. Father Hugh, how are you?

Fr. Hugh Barbour:
Just fine. Thank you. How are you?

CC:
I’m well.

FHB:
Persevering?

CC:
I’m well and full of Easter joy.

FHB:
Thanks be to God. Thank you.

CC:
Amen. Amen. Father Hugh is known to all of you. He has been our chaplain here at Catholic Answers for a couple of years now, and was prior of St. Michael’s Abbey, up in Orange, Orange…

FHB:
County.

CC:
County, Silverado Canyon… Trabuco Canyon.

FHB:
Both.

CC:
It keeps changing.

FHB:
It will be Silverado.

CC:
The new abbey, which I had the good fortune to see just a couple of months ago. Oh my goodness, it’s magnificent.

FHB:
It’ll be great.

CC:
Designed exclusively by you.

FHB:
No.

CC:
In the main.

FHB:
No, no, no.

CC:
Influenced heavily.

FHB:
Don’t make trouble for me.

CC:
Well, I know you wrote the inscriptions on the bells.

FHB:
Yes I did. I wrote a lot of the Latin inscriptions on bells and on assigned altars [crosstalk 00:01:31].

CC:
There is actually a special name for those inscriptions that goes on that go on bells.

FHB:
Acrostics, some of them are acrostics. Some of them are chronograph, some of them are couplets. I mean, it depends.

CC:
Right, right. I had the good fortune to see those bells up close. Now you have to climb the tower.

FHB:
Yeah, but you can hear them from a long way off.

CC:
Like Quasimodo, and last Sunday was Quasimodo Sunday in the old calendar.

FHB:
Yes, it was. It’s the anniversary this week of the burning of Notre Dame.

CC:
It is.

FHB:
So, there you go. It’s all coming together.

CC:
Yeah, very good. Well today, Father, we are going to bring our conversation into the home, the domestic church, which is facing some particular challenges in this time of lockdown or sheltering in place. I get a kick out of that sheltering. Really, where?

FHB:
I feel like I’m supposed to be under my desk in third grade, you know?

CC:
Where else are you supposed to shelter, if not in place? What would be sheltering in motion?

FHB:
Well, that’s exactly it. You’re not moving from one place to another. You’re staying put.

CC:
Sheltering in place, very good. I love the government and the people who write for it. Okay, so we are, we’re sheltering in place. We’ve been doing this now for a little longer than any of us care to. There may be the one or two who are enjoying this very much, that guy, David Geffen on his yacht or whatever. But most of us have had our fill.

FHB:
Temperaments vary, and so some people like the fact that they can be cut off for a while.

CC:
Yes, yeah, but we’re not meant to be cut off.

FHB:
No.

CC:
No. I think of two kinds of people who are feeling some of this strain. One, the people who are cut off, the lonely, and the particular spiritual challenges that they may face. Then also, the people who are together and facing those challenges. I told Jackie that we were going to do a show on irritating one another, and she said, “Oh, well, you have a great deal of experience doing that.”

FHB:
So, did you command her as her lord and master to listen to the show?

CC:
Well, I will play it for her afterwards. Right, exactly, yeah. So no, it was, sweet woman. But in any case… Well, let’s start with the lonely first. They’re alone. What kind of in particular challenges might they be facing?

FHB:
Well, loneliness is, first of all, is to recognize what it is. That if you’re lonely, let’s say, don’t start with the presupposition that there’s something wrong with you. One of the first things God said about human nature is, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” So, if you’re lonely, just take a look at that without blaming yourself for it, first of all. Like what is the matter with me? Why can’t I snap out of this? Well, because you’re not meant to snap out of it by turning on the television or some other means.

CC:
Looking at Twitter.

FHB:
The real issue with loneliness is that it leads us through lack of interaction with other people, either internally or externally, prey to various temptations of the evil one, or from our own human weakness.

CC:
I can think of boredom.

FHB:
Well, yes, the boredom is definitely one of them. But in the first place, going along with it, sloth and boredom are definitely two. But anger, a lonely person is tempted to be very resentful of his situation. Because when we are deprived of something that we need, a friend, a lover… I mean, in the full Catholic sense of the term so entirely well meant… A friend, a lover, someone to console or instruct, or someone to take care of, all those things that keep you from being lonely.

FHB:
When you lack those things, you’re lacking things that usually people need. When we’re deprived of what we need, when we’re deprived of goods that we need, we feel the sting of an injustice. There’s something wrong and it’s not me. And it’s important that you realize it’s not you. It’s because I lack something that I really in justice ought to have or should have, and so, we become angry. That’s the result of that experience.

So, what do we do with that? Well, if we’re lonely, and angry, and they come right together, mulling over. You can be angry at yourself. You can be angry at events of your past life, persons, the government. A lot of people, they expend their anger on getting mad at politicians. We have to examine that an anger which has no ability to be fixed or resolved is a real waste of your time.

CC:
I really would like to underscore this, Father, that we can direct a lot of energy. In fact, Jackie made this point to me. Direct a lot of energy on frustration. It’s something that is utterly outside of our realm or power to do anything about.

FHB:
Right as Saint Alphonsus Liguori says, the great master of moral theology says, “No one is bound to do the impossible.” If you can’t solve the problems that underlie whatever is behind the current situation in church or state, then you can just give yourself a moral holiday. You can say, “I’m going to live my life peacefully with my family, or friends, or even by myself, if I have to be, trying to do and experience those good things that God has given me to do and to experience.”

Then the light will break and aloneness might dissipate, might become less, as we began to realize that we’re not meant to, and we’re not required to respond to the big picture. We’re just meant to get up. Thank God for the beauty of the sunlight if the sun is shining. Where I am there, of course, I have like 100s of swallows all over the place, so you can’t ignore their relentless cheerfulness.

CC:
It’s because at the mission at Capistrano, they put all those spiky things up, to keep them from coming. So they went and found St. Michael’s Abbey.

FHB:
Well, actually, it was the development that did it because there are too many of these houses and whatnot. But they’ve come to us.

CC:
They are messy.

FHB:
We do keep them from going someplace, but we don’t use spikes so much. We just use paper that makes smooth surfaces that they can’t make their houses on.

CC:
I see.

FHB:
But in any case…

CC:
What would Saint Joseph say?

FHB:
He’d be okay. It’s a joint effort. We help on the lower end. So, find something good to reflect on, to think about, to thank God for, the beauties of a new day, the fact that… And I would say comparisons are bad, but if you would make a comparison sometimes to how bad off other people are, you might in fact find reason to be relieved a little bit.

Also, then pray for those people, which is something you can do that gives a purpose to your life. All these people who suffer so much, they are in need of intercessors, people to intercede for them, to pray for them. They don’t have them. All the people that are dying, who have no one to accompany them to the cemetery because they won’t let their family go and pray at the grave, they need more people to pray for them, for their souls.

All the people that are doing their best to mitigate all the bad effects of this, both politically and physically, they need prayers as well. They need grace from God and light, so you could do an awful lot of good by praying rosary or keeping them in mind just as one example.

CC:
So Father, let me ask you, and perhaps this is my Opus Dei formation or my Marine Corps background. It seems to me in a circumstance like this that a little bit of order or regimentation, I’m sorry to use that, might be a value here.

FHB:
Definitely. The thing is-

CC:
A little self-discipline.

FHB:
Get up as though you are going to work. Get dressed. Don’t just always lounge around in pajamas, or with nothing on whatsoever, or whatever it is you do when you’re by yourself that people are living alone. Get-

CC:
Shaved.

FHB:
Shaved, tidy up or trim your beard, if you’ve got that or whatever. Just tidy up, and that puts you in a mind that there’s something for you to do, and that there may be people you have to see, maybe not. But wouldn’t it be nicer if someone does run into you, someone ends up on your doorstep, that they see you looking as though none of this were going on. Just perfectly ready to walk out the door, and go to work, or whatever it is you need to do. So, getting up at the same time, taking care of your personal hygiene, as they would’ve said in school, all right, and being as normal as possible.

When I was a college student, I had an [inaudible 00:10:09] spiritual director, and he always said, “Remember in times of difficult,” was Spaniard, “You must be normal, very, very normal.” So, when you’re upset or stressed or whatever, think, “Well, what will make the situation more normal?”

CC:
But that’s great advice, Father. That could apply across almost every sector, be normal.

FHB:
Be normal, be normal.

CC:
But don’t [crosstalk 00:10:29].

FHB:
But we kind of all know what that means, although it’d be hard to give a definition.

CC:
Sure.

FHB:
Then, of course, the first discipline you have in the day is to kneel down if you can, or sit down, or stand up, and pray your morning prayers. Just never leave those out. Begin the day that way. And praying earnestly for yourself, and for those around you, and for the good of the church and state. Really have other people in your heart, even if they’re not in your room with you or in your house with you, but have them there, and be doing something good for them.

Then as I said, the loneliness will dissipate. Who was more alone than our Savior when he prayed all night many times during his public ministry. And yet, what had more power and influence over other people than his prayer? Who was more alone than the Lord in the Agony of the Garden? And yet, this is the deliberate choice he made so that he could expiate each and every one of our sins and imperfections, from Adam and Eve to the last sin committed before he comes again. Our Lord did all of that for us, and he did it by himself, and yet we were all included in his sacred heart. And since we’re made in his image, and he’s given us his character in baptism, each one of us to his own measure can do the same thing.

CC:
I’ll just say thank you to you by way of making this suggestion because you’re the one who brought the practice of Lauds and Vespers to Catholic Answers. Even if you don’t have this altar, of course, you can find them online. iSalt or whatever the various apps are.

FHB:
Liturgy of the Hours or iBreviary.

CC:
Or even in the Magnificat, there’s a shorter version of the… But just getting in the habit, right.

FHB:
And by the way, just as a little plug, the Franciscans of the Holy Land, the Franciscans who take care of the shrines in the Holy Land, they have an online Divine Office that’s in several languages, Spanish, English, Latin, French, Italian. They do a very fine job, and it just gives you all the prayers for the day. They occasionally ask for donation because, of course, they’re in very great, great strait. So that’s one I can recommend as well, It has audio as well.

CC:
I challenge anyone listening to this episode of Catholic Answers Focus. If you don’t pray Lauds and Vespers, if you’re not familiar with the office, please try it for a couple of weeks. Try it for 30 days. It’s transforming.

FHB:
Absolutely.

CC:
It is, it is. Okay, so anger deriving from loneliness. I can see a couple of, since coming out of boredom, sloth, and impurity, sins of impurity.

FHB:
Well, sloth is the older word for it. Of course, acedia, and it means an aversion to spiritual things. Now in a version of spiritual things in the broad sense, not just a grace, the sacraments and prayer, the higher spiritual things, but also using our will and using our intellect, our reason, as they’re meant to be used.

That is, living on the level of our emotions, our passions, our senses, our memories, and just living in all that, wallowing and all that. Instead of making use of the power of our will to choose against some of our inclinations, or not to dwell continually on things that stir us up emotionally, but rather choosing to know or consider things that are higher and better. That’s the real root of this kind of sloth. It’s sloth by the way, everyone, not sloth, sloth, sloth, sloth, sloth. Just look it up. It’s not the animal, it’s the vice.

CC:
So let me ask you if I’m understanding you correctly, or if I’m expressing this correctly, it’s bringing the intellect in some ways under the discipline of the will. So that it isn’t constantly wallowing, but thinking of higher things.

FHB:
Right, or not so much the intellect as the imagination, the memory, and the feelings.

CC:
Imagination, okay, very good.

FHB:
Then under the control of the intellect and the will. The will is just the will, the intellect’s appetite. It’s what the will of the intellect causes by way of inclinations. So, the consideration of higher things is what the slothful person does not want to do. And so, of course, that means that what they’re going to do, is they’re going to say when they’re confronted with something that’s higher or spiritual, like this program or some Catholic Answers thing, “It’s kind of boring.” Then they go and they turn on their computer, and they watch pornography, and abuse themselves. That’s what they do when they’re not paying attention to spiritual things.

CC:
Which also is boring.

FHB:
Which is also very boring, and it makes you boring. As one conservative commentator, but I won’t say it. I won’t go to that. Sorry. But anyway, the whole boredom thing, my mother used to say, “If you’re bored, if you say something’s boring, it’s because you are boring.” That’s what my mother. [crosstalk 00:15:14] Because anybody who has a good heart, an open heart, and a kind heart… Think of G. K. Chesterton or Belloc or something… can find something of interest in everything-

CC:
And delight.

FHB:
… and delight and everything.

CC:
And wonder.

FHB:
And wonder, right. We can overcome that boredom and the sloth, if we begin to take over our lives, and begin to do those things, and say those things, and think those things that will make us productive and happy. Everyone has a little backyard, or everyone can take care of a potted plant, or clean a bathroom, or make a meal, or call a friend you haven’t talked to.

This is a great opportunity now to connect with people you haven’t for ages. You have a pretext. You don’t have to be embarrassed. You can say, “Oh sorry, I haven’t talked to you in a while.” You can just open up with this particular… Don’t hold back. Make a resolution that you’re going to contact somebody every single day, one person with an email or a phone call you haven’t talked to in a while, and see what happens.

CC:
I would like to suggest, Father, that when we want to combat this acedia… Did I get that correct there… that we don’t resort to screens to do it. We look for something besides a screen.

FHB:
Right, that’s very important. But I’m thinking in terms of the person that you can only reach by way of one of these means.

CC:
Sure.

FHB:
They’re not really on the screen. So, I do recommend the use of the media for that if you’re establishing one on one contact with another person that you haven’t seen in forever. But it’s true. Doing something real like making meals, or fixing things, or cleaning up, or going out in the garage and getting it in order finally, or finally fixing your car the way you want it. I don’t know. There’s so many things you can do, but they will definitely help you because you’ll feel better as we say, no doubt about yourself.

Then you’ll be able to pray more, and the devil will not prey on you in the other sense, and making you feel worthless, and useless, and unproductive, and all that. Then that leads you back to the screen and to behaviors which are even less productive.

CC:
Sure. Set up one thing or three, whatever it is that by the end of the day you’re put your head on your pillow and you’re going to say, “I got that done.”

FHB:
Then also make the resolution that if you don’t do those things, you’re still not going to feel rotten about yourself. You’re just going to get up and try again the next day.

CC:
One other antidote to acedia, Father, that I would like to recommend and hear you comment on, and that is read poetry to raise the mind to higher things?

FHB:
Now, poetry is good for expressing experiences that are so concrete that we can’t express them any other way but in a poem. The poem is like a verbal gesture expressing something. It’s in the same category as dance, and in Greek times that accompanied dance. It enables us to take things that are so deep or so basic to our experience that we don’t have any other way to say them. That’s what makes poems good poems, so charming, even if they’re about historical events. But yeah, poetry can be a great consolation and motivation.

In ages past, when people spent the winter evenings by the fire reading, they read poetry to each other. They read short stories to each other. In fact, that’s a very good thing to do is to read to each other, even if it’s over the phone. If you’re not with someone, read something that you’ve just read or a short story that’s interesting or entertaining.

One thing, when the lights went out at our abbey for one whole night and another night because of work they were doing, we got together in the library, a number of us, with candles lit. We got this collection of short stories, and we just went and just passed the book along, and read these classic short stories, and entertained ourselves for the evening.

CC:
Nathaniel and I were reading a John Buchan novel to each other, and you know John Buchan, he wrote 39 steps. This one was called Salute to Adventurers, I think. But we got distracted, he started reading Captain Blood, a Rafael Sabatini novel. Anyway, I got to get him back to John, which is worthy too. Okay, so very good. But also from boredom, we can see some sins of impurity.

FHB:
Right, and this is a great danger. That’s the one thing you have to keep in mind is that one thing that will not get you out of sloth, loneliness, boredom, the sadness to go with it, is neglect of prayer. You always have to have prayer in your life, no matter if you’re flying high, or if you’re just barely making it. You have to have the discipline of prayer, which is always there and never omitted.

I can’t emphasize this too much because it’s the devil’s most effective temptation. We pray when we feel like it, and when we don’t feel like it, we don’t. As though somehow we have to meet a requirement, an emotional requirement to pray, and we don’t. In fact, we need to pray more when we’re feeling desolate or when we’ve offended our Lord grievously. Now, what’s a more important time to pray than when we’ve offended our Lord gravely?

Saint Francis de Sales says that, “A person that’s committed a grave sin should turn immediately, not waiting a second, but turn immediately to our Lord and beg for pardon.” That’s the attitude we have to have instead of being discouraged because that only comes from the devil.

CC:
Yes. Father, so someone living alone, of course, can be susceptible to these shortcomings that we’re describing, vices. But somebody living in a house full of people could still say, “I’m bored,” or, “I’m lonely.”

FHB:
Most definitely.

CC:
Exactly. You need not be alone to take Father’s good advice here. But let’s now talk especially about people who are living together. When the Checks started sheltering in place, we went through all the silly things, “Oh, we’re on a spaceship,” or whatever it is. A lot of the novelty of it has worn off. I expect it is the case for-

FHB:
Considering that everyone at home now is practically an adult.

CC:
That’s true. Well, we have good imaginations.

FHB:
Okay, that’s good, spaceship. It’s just that sense of… Okay, I get it.

CC:
A sailboat.

FHB:
Yeah, yeah.

CC:
Anyway, those are all my suggestions, Father, they didn’t take on. But, okay now, Father, people they’ve been in the same house. They’re seeing a great deal of each other. Far from getting closer to one another, there’s friction developing. How are we handling this?

FHB:
Well, of course, there’s friction, even in the best of times and families, we all know that. But when we’re in a situation is particularly frustrating that plays on our fears. Fearful people, who are suffering habitually from anxiety or fear, when the fear doesn’t go away, our nature tends to… and isn’t reflected upon… tends to look for a source of it and tends to move towards blame. Blame is a very, very common outgrowth of these strong negative emotions. When we don’t work at looking at them as they are in us. Like, “What am I afraid of?” Not, “Who’s doing what to me that makes me feel so horrible?”

When you don’t question our own state of mind, we’ll be blaming people. We’ll find reasons that other people are annoying. We’ll light on things that we never have liked in the first place, and we use that as our rationale to explain why we’re in the mood we’re in. On a point of fact, we need to recognize that as Saint Dorotheus of Gaza, the great monastic teacher said, “The reason why things don’t work out is because no one blames himself.”

If you’re in a difficult, intense situation, the family, if everybody stopped and looked to the ground and beat his or her chest and said, “I’m responsible for the situation and the degree to which I’m responsible, I have not done as I should.” If everybody took responsibility for not having done as he should except for the newborn baby, then the whole place would become peaceful right away, sincerely.

CC:
It’d be like Nazareth.

FHB:
It’d be like true love, and they didn’t even sin, but they probably had some misunderstandings, not on the part of Jesus, but on the part of Joseph and Mary. We see that in the fighting in the temple, although you notice, he doesn’t exactly apologize. He doesn’t have to.

But even then in families… With that being said, when there are those tense situation, this whole idea of social distancing, well, it still makes sense in the family when the situation is really tense, it is good just to be quiet, like hold your tongue, and allow people to be by themselves if they’re really not in the state to be talked to. Try to find the space, quote unquote, emotionally or physically, where the kids, especially teenagers, and everyone else can be by themselves.

There are bad sides to that. We mentioned that with the internet use and all that. But then there are other good signs because they feel hemmed in. Their natural tendency is to want to go out, and see their friends, and do all these other things, and that can make them pretty ornery, pretty angry. Giving people their leeway, leverage, and keeping silent, and/or even better, being willing to listen to what other people have to say, even if we think that they’re wrong or irrational.

CC:
Let me ask you though, Father-

FHB:
It helps at lot.

CC:
It does. Let me ask you at some point… and I’m not disagreeing with you, you had excellent counsel… at some point a parent, for example, is going to feel that it is his or her duty as a parent to say to that teenage boy or girl, “Okay, time to get out of the bedroom. Time to put the screen down. We’re going to go pull weeds. We’re going to go for a walk.” You’re going to have to be a little bit of a tyrant. Maybe that’s the wrong, sure it’s the wrong word.

FHB:
Certainly.

CC:
It’s the wrong word, but it’s going to have to put the foot down or something. Because once you’re in that acedia cycle, or the boredom cycle, or the sloth cycle, or the impurity cycle, that’s a hard thing. It’s nice to have somebody help pull you out of it.

FHB:
Of course, absolutely. I think the way to do that might to begin by having an expectation that between this hour and this hour we’re going to be doing this project, and then the rest of the time you’re free. Just make it clear, so it doesn’t just sort of… You don’t just notice that the child is not, or the young man or woman is not making good use of time, and then grab them from what they’re doing, and make them do something else. Plan ahead and just have something planned into the day to do, an ongoing project.

CC:
Between spouses, this is a little more nuanced, I guess. I mean, for a wife to say to her husband, who won’t get off the ESPN website or whatever it is, or get out of the BarcaLounger.

FHB:
Or won’t stop listening to Catholic Answers.

CC:
Yes, or the husband whose wife won’t stop listening to… Yeah, exactly, whatever it is, yeah. Cy Kellett, he has a lot of housewives who are fans of his, I’m sure.

FHB:
That’s nice. That’s sweet.

CC:
Yeah. In any case, between spouses, there’s going to have to be… Just that’s a little tougher one to manage sometimes. You can’t say, “Hey, come on, we’re going for a walk,” or whatever. You can try that. Sometimes it may work, it may not with a spouse.

FHB:
Yeah, well I think there that’s each couple is different. Then I would say you to work at that obviously. That’s on a little more intimate level, but it’s something that needs to be talked out and dealt with to be sure. It doesn’t work by way of nagging or refusal to hear other people’s opinion. But I think that those who are in charge of households, the father and the mother, they have to feel at this particular time, they’re especially bound to combat self-centeredness and more than ever.

Of course, being a parent always means that. Being a spouse always means that, But now especially not to get self-pitying or too frustrated, but be cheerful, and relentlessly cheerful, and keep people on the right track. But I think the married man might give the better advice here. But I think that that cheerfulness, and…

CC:
Father, you’re a man of great wisdom, but let’s ask specifically, let me ask specifically the question because I’m sure among our listeners, we have a range of devotion even between spouses. So now, we’re all confined and there may be the one spouse who’s saying, okay, “Let’s do rosary in the morning. Then we’re going to do Divine Mercy. Then we’re going to do Lauds and Vespers. Then we’re going to have mass in the middle,” or whatever. The husband may not be on board with that, or vice versa, or something like that. In a case there, that can be a particular challenge for the faithful when one is thinking, “Well, this is a time when we really need to come together spiritually.” But the other one is still caught up in that acedia.

FHB:
Well, I think there is just to have a standard agreed upon sane minimum and just do it. A family rosary is fine, and some morning prayers, evening prayers, or something. But not too much because then you’re going to be a stumbling block for people when they’re going through a bad patch, and they’ll associate this demand for more than they think they can do with unreasonableness in general.

Let’s say just the simple… Certainly family prayers should not… I’d say normally what you’ve established shouldn’t go over 30 minutes in the course of a day. I think that’s probably reasonable. There may be different situations and maybe he’ll call me for my head when I say that, but I think that’s generally, except for the attendance at mass, but right now we’re not able to do that.

I think praying together is preferable to watching liturgies on the television, even though we offer that too. It is a good thing to do, and there are priests and churches all around the world. But even Pope Francis said, even though he has the largest audience of daily streamed masses, and he has a million point seven who watch him. But he said the other day, “Mass on TV is not really mass.” Now that must have caused a lot of simple old ladies to really burst into tears. But you get the point, he’s saying, “We got to be praying together,” and that’s a very important thing. That’s what you were saying earlier about the Divine Office and so on, or the rosary, or any of those things are superior for us to pray in common than to pray by watching something.

CC:
Pope Francis has been a very insightful critic of information technology and its effect on human relationships. I am very grateful to my brother, Father Paul, who’s streaming the mass for us. But full disclosure, the Checks prefer to sit around the island in the kitchen and go through the Magnificat. It’s just I find it… I know it’s bringing a lot of comfort to people, and I’m glad my brother’s doing it, and I think his sermons are wonderful, but it’s a hard thing.

FHB:
Yeah. The Magnificat is a great resource. That’s another thing too. A wonderful resource.

CC:
Yeah, very good. All right, parting words of consolation. This is going to end soon. We don’t know.

FHB:
I don’t know. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, Maranatha.

CC:
It depends on what state you’re in. Here in California, we no idea.

FHB:
Who knows, who knows really and truly? There’s so many different voices out there.

CC:
Well, that’s one thing. You’ve got to shut those out.

FHB:
Or at least don’t feel obliged to take one of those opinions and run with it. Fine, I’m willing to believe all kinds of crazy theories if they might be true, but I’m not going to devote myself to them because no one could possibly know for sure what these people claim to know. You have this interesting, but, you know…

CC:
No, as my friend Dan Kerr said, “You can spend all day on the Drudge Report looking for that thing to give you a shot of adrenaline,” but that’s it.

FHB:
That’s just mostly creepy, creepy things. The principle thing we have to consider is that going back to our creation, “It’s not good for man to be alone,”, and therefore, we have to be alone with the alone. We have to pray, and seek God’s face in prayer, and do that earnestly, and consistently because there’s just so many needs in the world and so little prayer. That’s what Our Lady said at Lourdes. She said, ‘Pray, pray, pray.” That’s what she said. That’s her whole message. She wasn’t Chatty Cathy. She didn’t talk for paragraphs. She said, “Pray.”

CC:
For years.

FHB:
Then at Fatima, she said, “Pray and do penance and pray the rosary daily.” The message is very simple. She’s asked for prayer. She didn’t say, “Wear a hair shirt. Take the discipline. Fast all the time.” Well, some of those persons say that. But Our Lady at Fatima and Lourdes, she just said, “Pray,” so we can do that. I mean, we should.

CC:
Amen. Amen. Thank you, Father, always wise, and good, and gentle counsel that you give us. We’re very grateful.

FHB:
Or else?

CC:
Yeah, well there is or else. My friends, you have been listening to Catholic Answers Focus. My name is Chris Check. I’m president of Catholic Answers. I’ve been sitting in for Cy Kellett. Be sure to give Catholic Answers Focus a really great rating, I don’t know, a billion stars or however many stars you can give when you rate a podcast, and tell others.

FHB:
A thousand points of light.

CC:
Yes. Share it with your friends on all your sharing things, platforms that you share on, and be sure to subscribe, and tune into us next time. Thank you, Father Hugh.

FHB:
There’s more to come today too.

CC:
Amen.

FHB:
Peace.

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