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Friday, November 9, 2012

Year of Faith, III: Faith, America, and Suffering

My thoughts on the Year of Faith have taken a whole new turn with the re-election of President Obama. I've avoided discussing political issues on this blog up until now, because, frankly, I don't understand a lot of them.  But with the re-election of President Obama, I’m recognizing that I'm going to have to cling to my Faith, to beg God to strengthen my Faith, and when the opportunity arises, to stand up for my Faith.

The President's re-election means that Catholics are going to suffer.  Maybe we aren't feeling the pinch yet,; but it will come.  And when it does come, due to our free will, we will have a choice to make.  We can choose to stand with our God, our Church, our Faith, and our conscience (always a well-formed conscience) and to appear to the world to go “backwards” by following Him Who said “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (Jn. 14:6).  Or—God forbid!—we have the horrifying ability to choose to turn our backs on Him as Lucifer did and go “forward” in the eyes of the world by following a President who increasingly shows himself to be anti-God, anti-life, and anti-Catholic.

As for the hullabaloo about bishops telling their people not to vote for Obama, the Catholic Church teaches that cooperation in evil is a sin. Voting for a president who publicly espouses and funds abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and same-sex “marriage”, and other acts which are intrinsically contrary to the natural law is the same as agreeing to those things, and thus, is cooperation in evil.

Some of us might be asking “Why? Why did God let the most anti-God, anti-life, anti-Catholic President in our country’s history be re-elected? Do we really deserve four more years of what will be increasing persecution of the Catholic Church?”

God cannot cause evil. God does not will evil. But somehow, in His Providence, we’ve gotten what we deserved.  If Catholics in America deserve to be persecuted, if that persecution is a fitting punishment for the failure of American Catholics to go to Mass on Sunday, to believe in the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord in the Holy Eucharist, to obey the Holy Father, to follow the teachings of the Church on contraception, abortion, sterilization, divorce, euthanasia, etc.—then we've gotten what we deserved.  If four more years of a God-less President will mean four more years of anti-Catholic legislation, then Catholics in America deserve those four years.  And, please God, the persecution will bring those who are only nominally “Catholic” back to the Faith.

Obama could not have been re-elected without our cooperation. According to The Pew's preliminary exit poll, 50% of Catholics voted for Pres. Obama. An astonishing 75% of Hispanic Catholics voted for him. That fact alone shows the desperate need of the American Catholic Church to grow in faith; how fitting, then, that the Holy Father has called us all to a closer relationship with Christ during the recently-proclaimed Year of Faith:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Obama’s re-election occurred during the recently-proclaimed Year of Faith.  Our Holy Father has called us during this time to strengthen our faith by focusing on Christ, not looking to any mere human being to save us:

During this time we will need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ, the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2): in [H]im, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart finds fulfilment. The joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness in the face of an offence received and the victory of life over the emptiness of death: all this finds fulfilment in the mystery of [H]is Incarnation, in [H]is becoming man, in [H]is sharing our human weakness so as to transform it by the power of his resurrection. In [H]im Who died and rose again for our salvation, the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light. (Porta Fidei, 13)

The above-quoted paragraph also has special relevance considering the outcome of the election. It is especially "[d]uring this time"—the next four years of Obama's Presidency—that Catholics in America "need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ." We should not—indeed, we cannot—take our eyes off of Him, because like Peter, who took his eyes off Christ and allowed the waves to loom up before his consciousness, we will only sink (cf. Mt. 14:30).  We should not look to any man as our "Hope"; we should not look to any one human being to "fix" our country. Christ is the One in Whom we place our trust. Christ is the only One Who can "fix" the mess this country is in. But He's not going to change America just "like that," just as—had he been elected—Governor Romney would not have been able to "fix" this country without the support and free will of the American people.  God cannot force our free will; He needs our cooperation.

If our country is going to turn back to the God-based principles on which it was founded, it will not be through God reaching down and forcing us to change.  We will have to cooperate with Him, and encourage our fellow Catholics to learn more about their Faith, to study the teachings of the Church, to recognize that

Let us, with St. Thomas More, be "America's good servants, but God's first."

God Love you!

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