Summary: Politics will not save us. Only the God whom we thank today can do that.
“Now thank we all our God. . .who wondrous things has done. . .who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love.” Martin Rickart’s magnificent hymn of thanks, used by almost all Christians, is inspired by this text from the book of Ecclesiasticus, or Sirach. This is the one day of the year set aside by American law for thanksgiving. To whom? To the merciful God who has done wondrous things for us.
There is particular reason in November of 2016 to give thanks. I try not to be political, but for faithful Catholics the past eight years have been pretty tough. The family has been under assault in our country as never before. The Supreme Court of our land has redefined marriage, a sacred covenant instituted by God for the preservation of the human race by uniting for life a man and a woman in self-giving love. I should say they tried to redefine marriage. But sexual abuse, whether it is sodomy, rape, pederasty, pedophilia or any of the other abominations cannot be rendered anything but sinful by any human institution.
There have been other attacks on the family, particularly on the beginning and natural ending of life. Planned Parenthood continues its long-term genocide, especially against Hispanics, Africans and Catholics. And the federal government makes us pay for it, whatever our conscience tells us. States are permitting doctors to kill people, and there is increasing evidence that some of these deaths are imposed rather than requested. Plato taught us that politics is the application of ethics to society. More recently it has been the application of evil to society.
The election of a pro-life candidate to the presidency has the potential to stop, even reverse some of these trends, but we cannot be complacent. We’ve seen the election of people to high office under a pro-life banner for a couple of generations, but abortionists are still killing babies, and doctors are still killing patients, and people trapped in homosexual habits are still being told that they are doing wonderful things. Bodies and souls are dying. Politics will not save us. Only the God whom we thank today can do that.
How will that happen? First, we ourselves need to examine our consciences, and turn in repentance to God. The ten lepers on the road knew their own need, their desperate condition, and they turned to the only one who could help–Jesus Christ. Each of us has some kind of leprosy in our souls. It could be a bad habit–pornography addiction afflicts almost half of the population. Maybe we cheat on our taxes, or cheat our employer of time, talent or resources. We know we should be using our spiritual gifts for the upbuilding of the Church, or we should be giving more in the weekly collection and do not. There is, of course, hope–the sacrament of reconciliation is always available. We can turn to Jesus and be healed.
Second, we need to be alert to opportunities to use our spiritual gifts to help others to come to Christ and the Church. I recommend prayerfully crafting what marketers call an “elevator talk,” a one minute testimony about the joy and reconciliation we have experienced in the Church. Couple that with an invitation to Mass or the parish mission during advent. Carry a booklet about Jesus and the Church that you can give to those who are interested.
Our nation cannot be healed by politics. Politics imposes behavior on people from the outside. The only real change comes from inside. Blessed Chaminade taught us “the essential is the interior.” So we need to do one thing more, and we need to do it first: pray. Pray for yourselves, pray for your families, our city, our state, our nation. God wants to shower His blessings on us, His countless gifts of love. Our prayer opens the reception channel for those gifts. If we do these things, next November we will have real change to thank our God for.