With fighting words, our nation’s new political leaders have promised to initiate and accelerate the institutional violation of the Ten Commandments. So let us have an honest conversation about the uncertainties and anxieties they have caused believing Catholics, and let us consider a few timeless Gospel responses.
The violation of the first three Commandments—our religious duties in freedom—also comes from forcing us to violate the others. Thus, for example, looming evil health-care regulations will be the primary means to undermine religious freedom on the national level.
The new administration promises methodically to violate the Fifth Commandment by deconstructing laws against abortion and eliminating conscience clauses. Violations of the Seventh and Tenth Commandments will continue and accelerate out-of-control government spending, robbing future generations. Threats by government officials in collaboration with Big Tech to silence dissent violate the Eighth Commandment.
Many of you have been fighting the good fight for years: You have remained faithful in marriage. You have provided for the temporal and spiritual needs of your families. You have voted pro-life and supported pro-life causes. You have fought the sex-education ideology in our schools. You have honored the rule of just laws.
You carry the scars to prove it: the disdain of some members of your family, the loss of friends, lost job opportunities, and walking on politically-correct eggshells at work. Many of you have even suffered unjust insults from some Church authorities. So some of you may think you have a special right to a paralyzing and devastating discouragement.
No, you don’t.
Discouragement is among the most dangerous temptations: “Life stinks, so make it worse.” Obsess how the kids will be inevitable victims. Neglect family obligations and bring misery. Immerse oneself in alcohol and pornography. Succumb to the spirit of vengeance. This is madness!
We need a few solutions from the Gospel and saintly wisdom to help restore our sanity. So get some rest, recharge your batteries, and get back in the game. As you do:
Place the current situation in a historical context. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) The anxieties we face today are simply variations of the apprehensions we face at every age: revolutions, wars, family feuds and, economic depressions. What makes us think we should be immune from the effects of sin now and in the future?
Our religious leadership has always been weak. When Jesus called the Twelve, it was not an all-star cast. Judas betrayed Him. Except for John, they all abandoned Jesus during his Passion. We have many peacocks for religious leaders who are very colorful in front of the cameras but have very ugly posteriors. Criticize in honesty, but respect legitimate authority. “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)
The strength of the righteous is always underestimated. Consider the accounts of the Jews in Egypt, the Exodus, David and Goliath, exile and return, ultimately the Cross and the Resurrection. The message of Scriptures is consistent: “…though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-8)
So consider a few resolutions:
- Never think of the Mass as a non-essential service. God created us to worship Him in love and freedom. When secular authorities threaten our religious freedom, they assault the reason for life and the means of our salvation.
- Marry and have babies according to your vocation and state of life. Leftist ideologues hate new life. Gather together, hold hands, and sing a few tunes. How about, “We Shall Overcome”? Invite friends who don’t have families. If you’re too old for marriage and family, support families according to your wits and means.
- Don’t cower. Teach your children to be warriors, just as the mothers taught their children to fight bravely during the Maccabean revolt. Admire the martyrs in the early Church, Saint Thomas More, Saint Isaac Jogues, the 20th-century martyrs, etc. God does not grant grace in advance. He confers it when we need it.
- Avoid fanaticism. Pope John Paul II defined a fanatic as someone who looks at the piece of a pie and thinks it’s the whole pie. Provided we are aligned with Jesus, we all have our parts to play: “…all the members of the body, though many, are one body.” (1 Cor. 12:12) Respect different approaches to achieve the same goal.
- Live by the Ten Commandments. Evil is sterile and lifeless. It cripples and destroys, and God will not bless evil deeds. The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves not only prefigures the Eucharist, but it also reminds us that Jesus multiplies our good works in ways we cannot imagine. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21)
Most of us expect heaven on earth. We were dissatisfied with our lives before the election. We were worried about our families, our livelihoods, our health, and our retirement. These were and are legitimate concerns. But Saint Augustine’s timeless reminder is truthful and consoling: “Our heart is restless until it rests in Thee, O Lord.”
During the Battle for Britain, Winston Churchill said: “Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” God’s grace and our faith in Jesus fortify Churchill’s contagious fighting spirit. We are Christians, and we have confidence in final victory: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Our lives belong to Jesus, and someday, with his grace, we will rest forever in his peace. In the meantime, keep punching.
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