After watching the nightmare of the American presidential election unfold I have woken up to a fresh reality.
I would like to share it with you because I encourage you to do what I have resolved to do.
First the bad news. This country and our world is in a bad way. The intentional lies, corruption, immorality, vanity and colossal foolishness is overwhelming. The unintentional indifference, ignorance, arrogance of the population make the situation even worse. When I read the propaganda that pretends to be news, and see the tyranny that pretends to be democracy, the selfishness that pretends to be freedom, the immorality that pretends to be marriage and the indoctrination that pretends to be education I shake my head and shudder in my boots.
But here’s the good news. Almost none of it need affect me. I can make decisions on the local level that can bring me peace, joy and happiness. With the right attitude I can roll up my sleeves and get to work with my colleagues.
Why blame the world for being corrupt and venal when I also am too concerned about money and material possessions? Let me simplify my life and seek detachment. Let me live more by faith, be more generous with my money and be happier. Why blame the world for immorality and lust? God grant me the grace to live chastely, to seek purity of heart and innocence of mind, and let Sodom and Gomorrah go where it will. Why blame the world for being duplicitous, manipulative, power hungry and cruel? Instead let me look to my own life and seek always to be transparent in all my doings, concerned only for others and not myself and to never stoop to being manipulative or cruel.
In other words, I want to live local and love local. Let the politicians do their worst. I have a job to do, a life to lead, a Lord to worship and a people to serve. I do not ask of the courage to stand up to the evil in Washington or the world. I simply ask for the courage to stand against the evil in my own life, in my family, my parish and my community. As a citizen I will be involved and vote where I can for local politicians who share my values and principles. As a priest I will seek to serve those who God has given me as my flock and family.
Neither will I worry myself about the greater church affairs. I pray for the Pope and I pray for my bishop. They are good and faithful men. They love God and serve his Church in ways that are greater than I can ever hope to do. May they serve God and the church in their calling and vocation as I will try faithfully to do in mine. Should they do or say something that I dislike I will let it be because no doubt, I do and say things that they would dislike if they knew it. I will think the best, give the benefit of the doubt and be positive and pro active in my ministry as much as I can, using what gifts I have to serve the Lord who gave them.
This is the fruit of my pilgrimage to Poland. I witnessed the life of Pope St John Paul II. HIs situation was far, far worse than anything I can imagine. An orphan and alone, he faced the Nazi terror then the Soviet oppression with wit, intelligence, education, the arts and a firm belief in the goodness of God and the goodness of his fellow man. He rolled up his sleeves and got to work in the trenches. He had courage. Boy, did he have courage!
Why do I take this attitude? Because I have faith. I have deep faith. I have faith the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is the Lord of All Time. I have faith in Jesus Christ his Son our Lord who is the King of the Universe and King of My Heart. I have faith in the Holy Spirit, sent into the world to renew the face of the earth.
I have faith and I am not afraid. I have opened wide the doors to Christ.