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March 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The coronavirus outbreak has forced millions of Catholics across the world not only to be quarantined, but to be without access to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. With that in mind, I thought there’d be no better person to speak to about surviving — and thriving — while living in social isolation than Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean, a hermit who resides in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Fr. Maximilian was a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate for a total of 22 years. He was the superior of their contemplative order in Italy and served as postulant director for six years in the United States. When the founders were replaced by a commissioner, Fr. Maximillian prayerfully discerned that there was no future for his contemplative vocation with the Franciscans. Eventually, Bishop Ronald Gainer welcomed him into his diocese as a priest hermit.
Fr. Maximilian’s story is truly unique. As a young boy, he grew up in a wild household where his parents would host massive parties. He was also a guitarist and a member of a rock band. When he was just 16, after a wild night of drinking, he got into a car accident that almost cost him his life.
“If I died at that moment, I’m convinced that I would have been condemned to hell,” he told me on my podcast today. “But God in His mercy gave me a second lease on life and began to call me to respond to his grace.”
Fr. Maximillian is still a musician and produces some really great songs that are wholesome and enjoyable. Go to his website, www.FatherMaxMusic.com, to listen to some of his best work.
What I really wanted to ask Father about was his thoughts on the coronavirus and what advice he has for Catholics who are holed up in their homes.
First off, he told me, and I agree with him, that mankind is being punished with the coronavirus for its many sins and that large-scale suffering is “always linked to our sins.”
He mentioned how Our Lady of La Salette, an approved apparition that occurred in the 1840s in France, proved that the famine that was occurring at the time was a direct result of men profaning Sunday and using the Lord’s name in vain. Father also mentioned how Our Lady of Fatima warned about World War II taking place if men didn’t do penance.
Fr. Maximillian believes that the coronavirus is being inflicted on mankind for not repenting of its ways. He singled out abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and the failure of churchmen to preach and live by the Faith in its fullness as major contributors to sin in these times. “Any sickness, any suffering, is linked to our fore-bears’ sins and also our own sins,” he said. “How can God not respond in some way, you know?”
So what can Catholics do in these times? When we are in isolation, Father said, music “can help lift us up when we're getting kind of down and struggling…there are times where the music just helps me to keep my focus on God.”
He also said we should “make our life an extension of the Mass” and offer up our sufferings in “atonement for our sins and those of the world.” That’s not going to be easy, he added, but Catholics need to realize that the situations they find themselves are either “willed or they’re permitted by God to draw us closer to Him to help save and sanctify ourselves.”
Fr. Maximillian added that Catholics must “hunker down and pray” and enjoy some music to calm their nerves and to focus on God.
“The whole world is being forced to think about their final end. They’re all being forced to think about the four last things…there’s many souls, I think, right now that are disposed because of the situation to extraordinary conversion,” he told me. “How many souls will go to Heaven if we pray and sacrifice for them? … Our prayers and sacrifices can bring about the salvation and sanctification of many souls.”
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