Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Reflection for Warrior Catholics

Tribulation Times


November 8, 2012


(1Sa 8:4-7) Then all the ancients of Israel being assembled came to Samuel to Ramatha. And they said to him: Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: make us a king, to judge us, as all nations have. And the word was displeasing in the eyes of Samuel, that they should say: Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel: Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to thee. For they have not rejected thee, but me, that I should not reign over them. 

CATHOLIC SENTINELObama wins Catholic vote; same-sex marriage approved in three states

ON THIS ROCK:  Election Reflection for Warrior Catholics


How Little We Have Lost

And yet, I began by saying that we have lost little. And I believe this to be true. We already were well on our way to European style social democracy. After four more years of Obama, we simply will be in a position to accept the facts as they are: Americans no longer are a people committed to self-reliance, community values, and love of God above all else. And it is time for those of us who continue to cherish these permanent goods to come to grips with the fact that we cannot “take back” America by electing this or that politician. Since the Reagan years, an increasing number of conservative Americans have sought to recapture the moment when we seriously believed we could reverse decades of moral atrophy and fiscal irresponsibility by calling on the better angels of Americans’ nature.

It never happened, even under Reagan. And if one looks at the institutions our “leaders” have built, they come to very, very little beyond comfortable incomes for the mouthpieces of the Republican party.

And here is my point: none of this is a reason for despair. Indeed, knowledge of the dead-end that politics so obviously has become should be liberating for conservatives. It is far beyond time for conservative Americans—and Christians in particular—to put aside the distractions of mass politics for the tactile realities involved in building a decent life. We still need to vote and otherwise get involved, of course, but we need to remember what we are doing: hoping to prevent or mitigate the damage being done to us, not “taking back” a state apparatus that has long been used to reshape our society in unwholesome ways. We must come to recognize that the federal government, to its very core, has become hostile to our very way of life, not a violent oppressor, but nonetheless our adversary as we seek to raise our children, educating them in our faith, our morals, and our traditions. We must build neighborhoods, parishes and other religious and secular communities in which spiritual, intellectual and fundamentally moral lives are possible.

Perhaps, having taught in a university setting for many years, I am more comfortable than most with the realization that mine will be a voice that is little valued or noticed, save for occasional scolding. But there is little lost and much gained by giving up the empty hope of some “revolution” (from a new Reagan or otherwise) anywhere but in the hearts and minds of the people with whom we share our lives. We can and must hope that Americans will rediscover their traditions and the moral core of their character. We must work to make this possible. But we must stop thinking that the rather abstract act of voting for one of two sets of personalities and policies at the national level will make that happen. It is past time to concentrate on reinvigorating the culture that made this nation, and its people, great.

We have lost little save our illusions. And we should be thankful for that.

MEDITATIONSThoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[I Thess. 2:1-8; Luke 11:9-13] 

The Lord convinces us to pray with the promise of His hearing, explaining this promise as the soft-heartedness of a natural father, favourably disposed to the petitions of his children. But here He hints at the reason why sometimes our prayers and petitions are not heard or are not fulfilled. A father will not give His children a stone instead of bread, or a serpent instead of a fish. If a natural father does not do this, how much more will the Heavenly Father not do it? And yet our petitions not infrequently are similar to petitions for a serpent and a stone. It seems to us that we are asking for bread and fish; while the Heavenly Father sees that what is requested will be for us a serpent and a stone — and does not give us what we ask for. 

A father and mother pour out before God heartfelt prayers for their son, that He arrange for him what is best, but in addition they express what they consider to be better for their son, that is, that he be alive, healthy and happy. The Lord hears their prayer and arranges for their son what is best, not according to the understanding of those asking, but as it is in reality for their son: He sends a disease from which their son dies. Those who think that everything ends with the present life will feel that the Lord has not heard them, but rather did the opposite of what they asked, or left the person about whom they pray to his own fate. But those who believe that the current life is only a preparation for the other life have no doubt that the son for whom they prayed fell sick and died precisely because their prayer was heard and because it was better for him to leave here than to remain here. 

You will say: then why pray? No, you must pray; but in prayers for specific things you must always keep in mind the condition: “if, O Lord, Thou Thyself deem this to be saving.” Saint Isaac the Syrian advises to shorten all prayer to this: “Thou knowest, O Lord, what is needful for me: do unto me according to Thy will.”

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of God

15. If we love this sovereign Good and forget ourselves, all will be well.

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