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Words of Hope in Dark Times

This election has both created and reopened wounds. So much ugliness from all sides before the election, and so much ugliness from both sides after the election. I think a lot of this problem comes from a hopelessness that the world tells us will heal if only you completely trust in PERSON A or PERSON B. This situation brings to mind 2 pre-election encounters, one that took place a month or so ago and one that took place quite a few years ago.

The first encounter those years ago was with a cloistered nun. I had reached a low point in my life (one of many you may encounter if you ever choose to go down the dark, dreary PhD road) and had seen so much ugliness and hatred around me that I was beginning to question the survival of beauty, holiness, and so many other things in a world so hell-bent on destroying goodness, truth, and love. The nun assured me that, although the world claimed victory over these things, God still ensured that there were enough people out there that remained custodians of truth and holiness even with reports of declining vocations. She reminded me that the world will continually try to paint a dark picture in order to drive us to despair and she ensured me that this picture was powerless against God's goodness. He simply loves us too much to give us over to the darkness of this world and we should simply trust him as we put on our armor each day to fight the good fight. The world cannot force us to despair if we continue to reflect God's goodness into the darkness.

The second encounter a month or so ago took place before a charismatic healing mass that had far more people in attendance than it did bathrooms on premises. The line was MASSIVE and I NEEDED TO GO. I took my chances on a forgotten bathroom in the basement, down Cirith Ungol, past the mines of Moria, and nestled behind (and under) a massive steam pipe. The line was three people long so we struck up a conversation as we waited. One of the women in line, an elderly woman, brought up the election and conveyed a sense of hopelessness that sounded all-too-familiar. Remembering my own gloom some years ago, I confided in her a great truth that had been spoken to us by St. John Paul the Great in Redemptoris Missio.

“As the third millennium of the redemption draws near, God is preparing a great springtime for Christianity, and we can already see its first signs.”- St. John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio
(Photo credit, CNS/Paul Haring 4/25/2014)
This message of hope had sounded naive and absurd years ago to someone who had grown accustomed to the world's 24/7 forecasts of doom. However, after my conversation with that nun, I had begun to look at the world through the eyes of a very intelligent nun who had unquestioningly put all her trust in God.

Forget Pew surveys. Forget elections. Forget politicians. Forget the war drums sounding from every nation as we continue our "piecemeal World War III." Forget the immediate apocalypse promised in every "third secret of Fatima" pamphlet. Most importantly, forget the forecasts shoved down our throats by political parties (and associated networks) more invested in the deification of *Candidate X* than they are in practicing the faith/lack of faith they claim to have when it comes to pandering for the religious/nonreligious voters.

Remember instead that God's love is eternal and it is more than sufficient. Do not let your mind be clouded by our worldly, self-serving leaders and their mouthpieces. Do not let the world keep you in constant anxiety, continually filling your mind with unpleasant images of hatred and devastation. No election can prevent you from being selfless, compassionate, loving, and merciful. Essentially, no election has the power to prevent you from being an instrument of God's love, His truth, His peace.

When you find yourself troubled by the state of this country, remember that there are people in North Korea that risk their lives every day to bring God's message of hope to those oppressed by a regime. Not even the threat of death prevents them from sharing God's word with people that starve for it. There are Catholics in China's underground churches that risk imprisonment because they continue to believe that Christ so loved his Church that he instituted the Eucharist, allowing his body, blood, soul, and divinity to be present in even the most make-shift, hidden tabernacles today. Do not focus on the dire situation of these people. Focus instead of the love that transcends human fear in those who continue to fight for love and truth in the face of death.

You may not believe it yet, but we are in a springtime and God placed us in this particular time and in your particular situation in life because we have a part to play in the history of salvation.

If you find yourself feeling otherwise, remember the words of St. Teresa of Avila....

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing;
God only is changeless.
Patience gains all things.
Who has God wants nothing.
God alone suffices.


Pax Vobiscum

3 comments:

  1. Needed this, thanks! People are posting a lot of pro-abortion things (amongst other things) in response to the fear that Mike Pence is going to do some damage, and I saw that someone close to me (a practicing Catholic) was for abortion. Disheartening, to say the least.

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  2. Thanks for these beautiful, inspiring thoughs!
    Bill

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