Post-Partisan Depression?

A week ago yesterday we spent the day with the only person who can save our country, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  We, like so many of you, had high hopes for the election.  But as we learned later that night, the American electorate has chosen a different road for our future.  Surprisingly, we don’t feel as depressed by this as one would expect – as we ourselves even expected.  This is not to discount the difficulties and sufferings we will all have to endure now, there is no doubt that all Americans are going to go through some very hard times in the future.  But we still have hope because, as dark as things may look, God is still in control, He loves us, and He has the power to turn this disaster into something great.  He specializes in that, actually.  If you don’t believe it, just look at a Crucifix.

Our hope lies in God, our trust is in God.  We weren’t looking for an earthly savior (and we certainly did not get one) but we must trust God.  No matter who had won the election we would still be facing an increasingly secular, anti-Christian culture.

Christopher Dawson said every age is an age of crisis for the Church.  How are we to face the crisis of this age? With hope, with faith, with charity.  It is not our calling to sit back, self-satisfied, in a time of peace and prosperity for the Church.  The culture of death opens its mouth wider and wider each day to swallow beauty, truth, dignity, and life.  Fighting the beast with Truth and Life isn’t just one option, it’s our only option.  Our lives and hearts must be firmly rooted in Jesus Christ and His Church.  This requires a daily, even hourly, re-orienting of ourselves toward Him.

Catholics should be good students of history.  Though persecution hasn’t been as savage in America as in other countries, we cannot expect to be exempt from that forever.  The important thing is to prepare ourselves to defend the Faith, even when it’s uncomfortable and unpopular, and to strengthen ourselves spiritually, being faithful in the small things so that, by God’s grace, when the big things come our way we will stand firmly with Christ and His Church.

No prayer is ever wasted, even when things don’t turn out in ways that seem best to us.  God’s ears are never closed to our petitions, and we won’t stop petitioning Him for our country and our religious freedom.  Now is the time to pray for an outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The culture of death can’t be voted away, we must conquer it one heart at a time, beginning with our own.

God is always good.  And not only is He always good, but He is always God, all the time, despite our temptation to operate as though He is on vacation or has more important matters to tend to.  He is the Lord of every situation we face.  On Sundays, solemnities and feast days, as part of the Liturgy of the Hours, we pray the Te Deum, a hymn of praise to God that reminds us of the reasons for our hope.  It closes with a responsory which boldly claims:  In you, Lord, is our hope:/and we shall never hope in vain.  Truly, because our hope lies in the Eternal One, we can hold fast to it always. 

Vote. Pray. Trust.

We took advantage of early voting last week.  On Friday we each cast our vote for life and liberty.  Here we are leaving the polling place.

During our travels to and from Reno we had the opportunity to talk to many people from different walks of life, not all Catholic, who all said they have deep sense of peace about the elections and a strong hope.  We came home from that trip very encouraged.  God is in control.  No matter what happens, we must keep that foremost in our minds and hearts.  As one friend of ours often says, God is very good at turning straw into gold.

Today we are manning (nunning?) adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Our Lady of the Atonement.  We have cast our votes, now the most important thing that we can do is pray.  And having the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a public chapel, rather than our home chapel, was very important to us, and to Fr. Phillips as well, so that others could have an opportunity to make a visit to Our Lord.

Wherever you are today, even if you can only spare five minutes, try to make a visit to Our Lord and ask Him to pour out His grace and mercy on our nation.  Adoration may not be available where you live, but Jesus is just as glad to see you, whether He is hidden in the tabernacle or exposed in the monstrance for adoration.

May God bless America!

What Does the Politician Really Say

In the spirit of What Does the Prayer Really Say, we would like to offer a translation of a statement made during the Vice Presidential debate on Thursday night when it was, quite inaccurately (to put it nicely), said:

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”

Now, courtesy of the Becket Fund For Religious Liberty, let’s see what should have been said, what would have been an accurate statement about this administration’s unconstitutional HHS mandate and its effect on the Catholic Church:

 “Under this administration’s HHS mandate, virtually every Catholic institution in our nation must refer contraception, must pay for contraception, and must serve as a vehicle to provide contraception in any insurance policy they provide. If they refuse to do so, they will face millions of dollars in fines that will cripple their ability to live out the principles of their faith.  That is a fact.”

The USCCB also responded to this blatant “inaccuracy”.  Here is part of their statement:

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

We are not trying to get political or tell you who to vote for, but we try to live our lives  in the service of Truth, and when it’s misrepresented we have a duty to point it out.  One VP candidate does not support Catholic teaching on the non-negotiable issues such as abortion (going so far as to oppose the unborn victims of violence act and parental notification when minors seek abortion), human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the definition of marriage.  The other VP candidate supports Catholic teaching on all of these issues.

During this 33 Days of Prayer, let’s pray especially for the hearts of our elected officials, that they be open to Truth, that they lead our country in light of this Truth, and that all Americans will be firmly committed to living their lives in the service of Truth.

33 Days of Prayer for Religious Freedom

Please join us during our 33 Days of Prayer for Religious Freedom.

Beginning on October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and ending November 6th, Election Day, we will be praying especially for our Nation.

Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke of Religious Liberty as the “Most Cherished of American Freedoms.”  Sadly, this freedom is truly under attack; therefore as Catholics we must pray and act to protect this fundamental right.

Every Christian therefore knows well that he must do all he can, but that the final result depends on God: this awareness sustains him in his daily effort, especially in difficult situations.

Pope Benedict XVI

This is a time not only to discern what it means to vote Catholic, but an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Catholic!

Together may we use these days before the National Elections to:

Pray, Fast, Read, Study, Learn, and Educate!

St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote in this regard: “Act as though everything depended on you, but in the knowledge that really everything depends on God.”