November 14, 2016 (HLI) — Now that we have had some time to breathe and maybe to blow off some steam following the elections, it is time to focus. Each of us has something to do appropriate to our station in life. Here are a few thoughts on the gift and responsibility of the time we find ourselves in as Americans.
1) Pray. Yes, prayer comes first, throughout, and last. Don't you dare roll your eyes and say, as some do, “Ok, but we have to DO SOMETHING!” “But”? As if the desire to just do something will automatically be fruitful even without listening to our Creator-whose grace alone will determine the outcome of this and every other moment. If we act without conversion we remain subject to the whims of whatever media we are listening to and our appetites.
Avail yourself of the grace Our Lord is trying to pour into your life, and ask for the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and all the saints. Do you think heaven is uninterested in how all of this plays out? Do not merely react or merely keep busy. Ask for the grace and peace to know how you and your community can play a role at this moment in time to advance the cause of life, family, religious freedom, and genuine solidarity in a very broken nation. Pray first. Receive the gifts of Sacramental Confession and Our Lord's gift of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament and maybe unplug from the drama of politics for a while. Be still and hear what God is saying to you.
2) Become an agent of God in your family and community. Our nation and every person has a Savior, and it isn't you or me. It is not ours to save the country. It is ours to work where we are and to be generous with the gifts we have been given by God. If you have made a commitment to grow in holiness and really develop your prayerful relationship with God, you will soon become an agent of his peace in your family and community. You will be more open to the opportunities He puts in front of you-concrete opportunities that require your generous response. For most of us, this will mean being present to others, engaging in grassroots efforts to communicate the beauty of the Faith, and the Church's teaching on life and family.
Remember that the news out of Washington will vary widely-hopeful one day and crazy the next. This cannot matter to you, your work, or your prayer life.
And for those who have been blessed with financial resources, I need your personal commitment to our pro-life and family movement. With so many wealthy leftists like George Soros, Warren Buffett, and Bill and Melinda Gates proudly throwing tons of money at their causes, we need those who agree with us to generously invest in our efforts — to be proud of the cause for life and family! No one is permitted to sit on the sidelines in this crucial battle. We need every person and every available resource — working harmoniously toward the transformation of the culture.
No doubt there are now consequences that faithful Christians face even for their giving, but if fear guides your decision making, see #1 and look again at the state of our nation. If you're waiting for a better time, you are not paying attention. Yes, choose prudently-throwing money at a bad idea is, well, a bad idea. But prayerfully do your research and get into the game. There are many excellent groups whose work is worthy of support at the international, national, and local levels. Of course, I am partial to one group in particular(!), but that you are generous, prudent, and courageous is the key both spiritually for yourself and practically for our nation.
3) Do not make the same mistake as our opponents did in treating worthy politicians as saviors and unworthy politicians as demons. This is a common temptation, now practically the national pastime. It is true that with this election, many of the worst politicians were defeated, but some destructive state level laws were also passed, and even some of those we've elected have records about which we should be concerned. They still demand our constant vigilance.
It certainly makes sense to track national developments to the extent that it allows you to support worthy political and cultural efforts, but it also tempts many to despair or misplaced hope. Politics, as they say, is downstream from culture, and even if you have the politicians you want in place, if they can't do anything due to cultural pressure, then their moves will be timid and all gains temporary. Remember the media, Hollywood, universities, and now even sports and cultural institutions are against us due to the decades long and corrupt diligence of the Culture of Death. Faithful Christians and supporters of natural law who work at the national and state levels of politics deserve our financial, prayerful, and active support. Just keep perspective and keep focused on what you can do where you are with your gifts. See #1.
4) America is great only to the extent that we are morally good. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute put it succinctly in a comment that, to me, roseabove the noise and indignation following the election. The further we succumb to the poisonous ideology of the sexual revolution, the more we are at each other's throats, treating politics as a death sport and opponents as enemies. The dictatorships of the 20th century intentionally set out to destroy the family by making sex predominant in their subjects' lives-people obsessed with sex are much easier to control. And sex without reproduction is just the anti-God, anti-nature, anti-reason formula for control of persons and societies. Thus, the errors of Russia spread.
One party is rather transparently the vehicle for this ideology-its most famous supporters reaching to disgusting new lows each election cycle to get people to vote, elevating sexual pleasure as a “right”, setting mothers against their babies as a matter of “health”, and using the courts to undermine the most fundamental and natural institutions of marriage and family. Even many Christians still see this party and its government-first mentality as the vehicle for “solidarity”, even as its attacks on life, faith, and family grow ever more open.
This election cycle exposed the great chasm within the identity and mission of the Church. We heard from those claiming to be Catholic while promoting agendas and moral behaviors diametrically opposed to the teaching of Jesus and His Church. As we move forward, we should not ignore this division. The need to evangelize even among Catholics is never more needed, but it must be an authentic evangelization anchored in amendment of life, conversion, and spiritual renewal. Genuine life in Christ is the only path that leads to a genuine cultural transformation – God or nothing.
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In order to move forward, we need to seek the path of healing. The division within the nation – and within the Catholic Church in the US – has caused ill feelings, resentment, confusion, and uncharity from both sides of the political lines. We cannot stop what others say, but we choose how we respond. Our personal conversion and attitude is crucial in this cultural transformation. Take this question to prayer: How can Our Loving God use you to change their hearts and minds? Hint: it won't be by sarcastically reminding them for weeks how evil their party is and who won the election.
5) See #1. Commit to renewed prayer, fasting, acts of reparation, and courageous, unapologetic witness to the love of Jesus Christ for every one of His children. The president-elect and his team must be surrounded constantly by prayer for their protection and ongoing conversion as we seek our own. Many seem to think Mr. Trump is himself a prophet, overlooking a host of alarming things about his behavior and his record. It is absolutely true that no one is beyond saving while he is alive, and it is true that Mr. Trump has also sought the advice of many faithful Christians during his campaign. The choices we had for our nation are an indictment of how far things have fallen.
Yet with God there is hope, and it is unquestionably a good thing that Mr. Trump's main opponent was defeated. Those who agree on both what is most important in our nation and to Whom all glory must be given must now come together and forgive one another rather than demand concessions. Stop looking for ways to say I told you so and look for ways to say Let's do this! This, too, can only happen in a genuine way if we put God and His will before our own, and make every effort to listen to what He would have us do.
Brothers and sisters, our nation is in a very bad way, and we've made it a priority to export our decline to the rest of the world. We do have a genuine opportunity here if we can proceed in humility, making God's will our first desire and giving Him room to work through us.
How can we not be grateful, even among the tribulations? The alternatives are ever more clear: follow Christ or follow the world. The middle ground continues to drop away and God in His goodness has given us an opportunity for real change even at the political level. Let's not spoil this moment with gloating and condemnation, or waste it in mere activism. In love and truth, let's make our lives an invitation to live in the truth.
Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.