By Kennedy Hall
Kennedy Hall is the author of two books. He is married with four children and lives in Ontario, Canada. His work can be found at kennedyhall.ca.
This past Christmas Eve, I sat with my wife, sister and brother in-law, and my four small children in a small elementary school gymnasium. We sat on old foldout chairs made of plastic in groupings of seats that were set at least six feet from the next grouping. When we knelt, we knelt on the hard, tile floor. This was our setting for Midnight Mass, due to the government-imposed lockdown restrictions. I am blessed to have found a traditional order of priests who interpret the unlawful commands of the Province of Ontario in a way that is more palatable for our parish, and our situation was much more reverent than the majority of Masses in the rest of the province. Canadian law is unforgiving under the supposed “emergency orders,” and if our priests were to simply thumb their nose completely at the government, it is possible they would be thrown in jail and the church property would be seized. It is yet to be seen if legal challenges to this encroachment of Canadian Communism will have any effect, but as we wade through this insane lockdown-limbo, the situation is troubling.
At any rate, our choir sang in perhaps the most angelic manner I have ever heard them sing, and it was the first time we had heard singing in church for a month or two. In fact, the gym acoustics were ideal for the polyphonic hymns they sang. I am not sure if it was even “legal” for them to sing, because of course, they couldn’t sing with masks on. With the lights off, and the gym lit only by candles, it was a beautiful liturgy, and at times we forgot we were in this setting. After receiving Holy Communion, my mind wandered to a sort of daydream state as I knelt on the cold gym floor. I was struck by the dichotomy of what I was living through: I was in a room with dozens of faithful Catholics who could see through the virus-hysteria, yet we were still beholden to a set of unjust laws that absolutely none of us believe in, for reasons that none of us assent to.
As a man who has grown up playing and coaching intense collision sports, I am prone to envision in my mind’s eye a set of circumstances that get me “psyched up” for a conflict to come, wherein courage will be needed in the face of certain physical pain. Perhaps this is not what a pious post-Communion meditation should consist of, but I could not shake the place my mind was going. I recalled all the stories I have read about the persecution of Christians under brutal communist regimes; soldiers and officers storming into churches and beating priests and laymen; children being taken from their homes because their parents refused to apostatize; and even Christians standing in front of firing squads as they breathed their last. My situation is nowhere near as dire as those, but then again, those situations did not pop up out of nowhere.
If you read about the lead-up to persecution under Marxist regimes, there is always a set of circumstances—usually a manufactured crisis by the government that then extends unlawful powers to the state in the name of “public safety,” in whatever form that manifests. As I knelt in my heart-racing meditation, I could not help but see my current reality for what it was—I live in a Marxist state called Canada. For a moment I edged toward despair as it was announced from the pulpit that the government had decided to lock down the province again starting December 26th, restricting religious gatherings to a maximum of 10 people. This meant that we would be celebrating a makeshift home liturgy on Sundays for the foreseeable future and receiving sacraments infrequently and by appointment. For a father with small children, this is a maddening situation as it is difficult to explain to them why the government—who we are supposed to trust—is, in fact, evil. Furthermore, we teach our children that the Faith comes first. So again, it is hard to explain to 5, 4, 3 and 1.5 year-olds that we cannot go to Mass because the evil bureaucrats have said so, yet we are supposed to obey God over man.
I prayed hard for guidance and for a way forward. I knew there was no possible way for us to escape to a lockdown-free haven, for a variety of reasons. Also, I do love my country, in spite of the powers-that-be, and I do not want to leave. Suddenly, I was inspired by the thought of living under persecution. I realized what a gift it was to have to fight tooth and nail for every Sacrament, every Liturgy. I thought of the close bonds I have formed with men I never knew before the lockdown madness began, and how since then, our family rhythms have developed to center themselves completely around prayer and devotions. It dawned on me that this unlawful restriction of true devotion to God in my country has emboldened men and women of true faith to pray harder and to hope in God more. I thought to myself: The day will come when there will be a reckoning; perhaps I will be alive to see it, and perhaps I will not. But when it comes, I will be on the right side of history.
As we drove home from Midnight Mass, I listened to my children sing Christmas hymns from the backseat while my wife and I chatted about how we would get all the presents under the tree once the kids were in bed. It was one of the whitest Christmases we had experienced in a while, and the snow was coming down plentifully. As I looked out at the snow-covered fields beside the country highway, I remembered how much I love my country. This is Canada; it is where I was born and raised. And in spite of the demons who sit in parliament, it is a land beautifully and wonderfully made by God Almighty. As much as the morons in Ottawa and Toronto may be ideologically possessed by whatever memetic contagion has enwrapped their souls, this nation is not theirs; ultimately, it is not even mine, it is God’s.
I will remain a patriot to this nation as long as I can help it, even if I were ever forced to flee to freer lands. It is where I learned to skate, where I learned to say my prayers, where I met my wife, and where I will raise my children. My plight is not unique, and by no means am I in a position as grave as those patriots of other nations who are under the oppressive thumb of full-scale tyranny.
Clearly, I cannot give any intellectual assent to the idiotic drivel that spills out of the mouth of Justin Trudeau. And I cannot submit in fullness to the unlawful demands of this COVID-19-obsessed puppet-state of the CCP. I will not pledge my allegiance to the powers that be, and I will not expect my elected officials to do a thing for me. Canada is my Patria; it is my Fatherland. Thus, I will give all glory to God the Father, and in order to fully keep the Fourth Commandment, I will not forget my Mother, who has been crowned the Queen of Angels.
My patriotism to my Patria will be forged with every Holy Communion, every Rosary, and every time I catechize my children. As the infrastructure around me continues to devolve under the current regime’s COVID-19-brutalism, I will be there as a neighbor to those who finally wake up from the mask-induced coma that has taken their voice away. For whatever reason, God has placed us in our current circumstances, and He expects heroism out of each and every one of us. We cannot eschew national sovereignty or affection for the true goodness of our nation just because a group of soon-to-be perished globalists have unleashed their wretched schemes.
One day, this, too, shall pass, and it is men of courage and honor who will be left to pick up the pieces. As the comfort-dependent elites continue to push things too far, they, too, will meet their ends, and all of their diabolical plans will be unraveled; just as has happened throughout history and across the globe. When that day comes, true patriots will be ready; strengthened by having held on to the Faith under the ever-increasing pressure set on their shoulders. As swaths of citizens look around them and realize they have been lied to, abandoned, and betrayed by all the false ideals shoved down their throats for decades, they, too, will look to heaven.
Eventually, all the demons will be exorcised out of our cities and thrust into the swine that trample our rights underfoot. And as those creatures are cast into the oceans and Great Lakes, the Great White North will sit at the Feet of Christ and learn His Gospel.