There is no denying that the American experiment is in deep trouble. We are a deeply divided people. The chasm between us has widened caused by a trifecta of pandemic, BLM protests, and insurrection. President elect Biden says he is committed to facilitating healing and unity.
I just don’t know if, at this late stage, it is possible. Not if we depend on politicians and ideologues on either the left or right. Too many are filled with anger and hatred of anyone who disagrees. There is no mercy for dissidents in this brave new world we are inhabiting.
So what is an orthodox Christian to do? Well first we have to step way back from politics. I began the process years ago when I left the Republican party; I left the Democratic party decades before that.
We have a savior and He isn’t a president, senator, or representative. Politics and ideologies can not bring forth peace and justice. Certainly Christians are called to strive for those things, but we can’t do it without Jesus Christ.
Yes I vote, but I end up writing in a candidate or choosing the least bad among the candidates. My favorite deacon and I still discuss politics, but we no longer are passionate about any agenda.
Our votes are informed by our Catholic faith–all of it–social justice, immigration, understanding of the human person, abortion, death penalty etc. Not just some of it. All of it.
So what’s a committed Christian to do? Our baptism is a call to evangelize. But how do we do this in a culture that no longer understands our language.
First we need to strive everyday–always and everywhere–to become saints. Heaven, after all, is our true home. This means that we have to do the hard work of praying, reading scripture, and receiving the sacraments. We need the Eucharist to sustain us and give us strength when the going gets tough. We need confession when we sin and are in need of healing and mercy.
We need to live our faith with passion! We can’t bring Christ to anyone if he doesn’t dwell within us. As the old saying goes, you can’t pass on what you don’t possess yourself.
In addition, we need to let go of anger. All of it. I see anger destroying people everyday. We will never change hearts with anger. Anger just destroys the person in its grip.
Only love conquers hate and anger. Not the sentimental wishy-washy kind of love. No. We need the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross. That is what we are called to do. There even a commandment: “love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus even went further:
But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.Luke 6:27-28
It is unlikely that people will be persuaded by Christian arguments or reasoning. It is impossible to argue with slogans and hashtags, and Critical Race Theory, because there is seldom any cogent reasoning behind them. But if we truly live our faith people will want to know why we have love, hope, and joy.
In conclusion we need to live as the 1st Christians did. They were persecuted and marginalized. They were seen as a threat to the pagan world. Yet they persevered. People saw what they had. The early Christians simply loved and took care of each other. They were filled with a joy and peace. Their lives had meaning that pointed to something greater than themselves.
And the pagans took notice and wanted what the Christians had.