After the Election: Be the Change You Desire

Today is an interesting day across my social media venues. I see many rejoicing as President Obama has been re-elected to lead our country for another four years. I see many asking — in sadness, in confusion, and often in anger — what this means for the causes many of us hold dear: the sanctity of all human life, care for all of those in need, and religious liberty.

I’m not a pundit, so it’s not my way to answer either of those camps or to second-guess the will of the voters or our system of government.

So what is my job today? To be the change I desire.

To “be the change” I must commit:

  • To stop waiting for a system, one man, or a political party to make our country a better, more loving and more fruitful place to live
  • To stop thinking that my prayers — in absence of my actions — will help those in need
  • To stop “writing about it” instead of “doing it”
  • To stop looking at people in groups, classifying them according to anything more than simply another “child of God”

I’ll be the first to admit that I cannot change our entire country. But I can change my own little corner of it each and every day.

I can feed hungry folks in my community. I can nurture and love the teenagers in my life and their friends so that young women will not find themselves in need of choosing against the sanctity of human life. I can learn to communicate more effectively with families living in my town who have languages and cultures and needs that vary from my own. I can be active at my parish, which is a major source of support for the hungry, the poor and the lonely where I live. And I can continue to believe that the actions of each of our families do have an impact and that one little suburban housewife does have a responsibility in this world.

Following the election results, you might like to read:

Will you “be the change” you desire? What does that look like in your world?


About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at

  • Marc Cardaronella

    Amen Lisa! Great post!

  • Christine P.

    I agree with Marc. Well said Lisa!

  • Fr. Jeff

    I mentioned in a homily this weekend that I became a priest not to because I want to be a person who changes policy but because I wish to change hearts. Thanks for your insight.

    I would only add a small and charitable word of caution about the second point. Yes, our prayers must motivate our actions. But we don’t want to make our language sound as if prayer is ineffective without action. God can do immense things with the grace that enters the world through prayer. I’m delighted to think of the change affected in the world by cloistered religious. I cannot wait to learn in the Kingdom how their prayers sustained and brought about change in the world.

    Thanks, Lisa! Wonderful post.

    • lisahendey

      Thank you Fr. Jeff, I agree that my poorly written line doesn’t convey the right sentiment and I would in no way want to discount the amazing power of prayer. I’m simply trying to remind MYSELF that far too often when confronted with need, I tell a friend, “I’ll pray for you” (and I do that) when I should take the extra step if I can constructively offer help along with my prayers. It happened to me just this morning in an email interaction with a friend in New Jersey who is suffering in Sandy’s wake. I immediately offered prayers, but then also reminded myself that in this case there was actually action I could take that would help her too. I cherish the prayers of our religious communities around the world — St. Therese is a heroine in my life — I would never want to disrespect the very real change they bring to our world. So thank you very much for your comment.

      • Fr. Jeff

        I think that same level of introspection and self-knowledge would serve all of us well! I always must remind myself of the same. “Can I do more here?” Always a very important question to ponder and pray with!

  • Betty


  • Catholic @BarbaraKB (@CatholicMeme)

    Would your essay here be any different if the “R” guys had won? I hope not!

    • lisahendey


  • Barbara Bartpcco

    Lisa, A major reason I have been a Democrat for so many years is that I was influenced early on by the Catholic Church’s SOCIAL-JUSTICE wing and between our political parties, it is the Democrats who care about others. Read the Republican platform. Essentially it says
    “You’re on your own.” Democrats are aware of the need for a health care system that reaches ALL our population (we’re the only developed nation without such a system.)
    Democrats care about the fact that one of our largest populations consists of hungry children who benefit from school meals and food stamp voucher programs. But if you will look at my Facebook page you will also see me gently admonishing our President to reach our to Republicans in a way that practices “the humility of true servant-leadership.” Though I don’t add this next phrase, it is, of course, what Jesus taught. Barbara Bartocci, author,
    NOBODY’S CHILD ANY MORE and FROM HURTING TO HAPPY (Sorin Books: Ave Maria Press)

    • Jennifer

      Barbara-I agree the Church’s social -justice position should be the model for our government leadership. At the top of the Church’s social justice teaching is the respect for human life. Sadly Pres.Obama and his party have become the most radical anti-life party ever to exist in our nation. The poor and the hungry are lucky they survived his anti-life culture to even be here. If we do not have a government that respects the most vulnerable life, how can we truly believe that they respect the poor, the hungry or anyone else? Is it really compassionate to tell a desperate mother that the only help the government can give her is to help her kill her child?

    • Ted Seeber

      If the Democrats would offer health care instead of poison and death, I’d agree with you 100%.

      Unfortunately they don’t, and it appears to an “unfit” person like myself that they only want to kill me and my special needs child off as soon as possible, so that we’re not a burden to society.

      And the Republicans are even worse.

      God Bless the United States- because after Tuesday’s vote, as a Catholic, I sure can’t.

    • Wanda

      There is a vast difference in the meaning of Social Justice. Jesus wants us to care for those that cannot care for themselves, but he did not ask the government to do it. Instead, his words were to us as individuals to take care of each other. The government has become the parent and a poor one at that.

      • Sara

        Thank you, Wanda. I think that people are abdicating their personal responsibility in allowing the government free reign in social justice. With such an anti-life government, I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop—where they start telling the chronically ill, gravely ill, and mentally or physically disabled that they are no longer worth the cost of coverage.

  • Rob

    Excellent article. Only a lived faith is going to shine brightly enough to change our culture. I think anytime we forget who we are (sons and daughters of God) and forget who “they” are (sons and daughters of God), we get ourselves in trouble.

    In order to be divisive, we have to put people into categories. Because if we looked beyond that, to the person, then just maybe our hearts would engage and maybe we might do things differently.

    I think the world so badly wants to see the authentic, Christian heart.

  • LuAnn Smith

    Can’t thank you enough for your wise words. Words many of us needed to hear today. I thank you from the bottom of my heart…

  • kenyanews

    Great article Lisa. You write so well.

  • Heidi

    I agree with action in addition to prayer. I might add that, when possible, we pray WITH others and not just for them. Some time ago I was giving an acquaintance a ride home. As I stopped in to visit with their family, whom I had had never previously met, I mentioned that a family member of mine had recently been in an serious accident and was in very critical condition. Rather than simply tell me they would pray, they immediately stopped everything, gathered the entire household together, and prayed WITH me for this intention. It was so powerful! I will never forget this.

  • Pingback: Post-Election ’12: Welcome to Interesting Times -UPDATED

  • Wanda

    I find the links to the Pope and Cardinal Dolan’s remarks to Obama post election very saddening. What an opportunity both had to hold his feet to the fire and instead ” just smiled and shook his hand”