Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Great Timing

The Catholic Church is barely one month into its Year of Faith, and one can only marvel at the great timing of event.  The Catholic Church is under great pressure around the world.  While knowledge of God is innate to all human beings, there is an ebbing of faith from understanding God (as He revealed Himself), to feeling God, to wondering about God --- and trusting more in ourselves along the way down.  The recent election in the United States is witness to that decline, and it is a relief to get it out of the way, so we can move on to more serious matters --- The Year of Faith, and what to do about it.
I’m out of sorts today, having spent the last couple of day fasting (and nights praying) for our country.  I feel somewhat like David, who God told that his son must die in punishment for David’s sin.  David fasted and prayed, and then his son died anyway. And then David got up and (in effect) said: “Well, that’s over.  I couldn’t change God’s just punishment, so let’s move on.”  David’s sin was the breaking of the Ninth and Fifth Commandments.  Looking at the many (and growing) sins of our country, and its total lack of remorse, what punishment do you think is due to it?  I think whatever it is, it’s coming, so let’s just plan to accept it and move on.  But still, I felt David’s pain, a loss over what had been, and what I had loved.
Last night on the way to pray at the chapel, I put on my sister’s last gift to me: Anne Murray’s CD titled “What a Wonderful World.”  I didn’t want to listen to any election results; I just wanted to pray for God’s mercy this night.  But as those things would happen, I stopped at the 7-11 for a coffee along the way, and in the 30 seconds it took me to pay, the radio playing at the counter announced: “Well, it’s confirmed.  President Obama has been given four more years.”  “Oh no! ,” I thought.  Maybe I should just go back home and put my head under the pillow.  And I thought: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?  But, no!  I resolved to go ahead; perhaps these were just preliminary results; God can change anything.  And so at midnight in the quiet of the chapel I began to pray.
I prayed my night prayers and my Liturgy of the Hours.  I said 15 decades of the Rosary.  I prayed the Divine Mercy prayers at 3AM.  I meditated on events and my life.  And God and I talked, sincerely.  And eventually my mind wandered to thoughts of “four more years.”  I thought of all that Job had accepted, (could I be as stoic?) and then I happened to read these words from Job:
We accept good things from God
and should we not accept evil?
And then, frustrated at reading those words, I randomly flipped my prayer book to another page, to take my thoughts from this.  And there I read these words of Augustine:
In the kind of affliction, then, which can bring either good or ill, we do not know what it is right to pray for; yet, because it is difficult, troublesome and against the grain for us, weak as we are, we do what every human would do, we pray that it may be taken away from us.  We owe, however, at least this much in our duty to God:  If he does not take it away, we must not imagine that we are being forgotten by him but, because of our loving endurance of evil, must await greater blessings in its place.
“We do not know what to pray for,” that summarized my feelings very well.  And I meditated on these things some more.  And then, almost surprisingly, the night had slipped away and it was time for me to leave the chapel and travel to the church where I attend daily mass.  I then knelt one final time before Our Lord, and bent my will.  I didn’t pray for our country; I didn’t pray for our election results; I prayed that “Thy Will be done.”  And I prayed for the strength to live as He would wish me to live, in good times, and in bad.  “My Jesus, I trust in You.”
Driving to the church for mass, my heart was heavy as I continued to listen to Anne Murray singing.  Against all my feelings, perhaps there was still some hope of God’s Mercy?  And I listened intently to the words of these three songs, as I drove on the dark, lonely road.
I Believe in You
They ask me how I feel and if my love is real
And how I know I'll make it through
And they, they look at me and frown, they'd like to drive me from this town
They don't want me around 'cause I believe in you

They show me to the door, they say don't come back no more
'Cause I won't be like they'd like me to
And I walk out on my own, a thousand miles from home
But I don't feel alone 'cause I believe in you

I believe in you even through the tears and the laughter
I believe in you even though we are apart
I believe in you even on the morning after
Oh, when the dawn is nearing, oh, when the night is disappearing
Oh, this feeling is still here in my heart

Don't let me drift too far, keep me where you are
Where I will always be renewed
And that which you've given me today is worth more than I could pay
And no matter what they say, I believe in you

I believe in you when winter turn to summer
I believe in you when white turn to black
I believe in you even though I be outnumbered
Oh, though the earth may shake me, oh, though my friends forsake me
Oh, even that couldn't make me go back

Don't let me change my heart, keep me set apart
From all the plans they do pursue
And I, I don't mind the pain, don't mind the driving rain
I know I will sustain 'cause I believe in you

It Is No Secret
The chime of time rings out the news
Another day is through
Someone slipped and fell
Was that someone you?

You may have longed for added strength
Your courage to renew
Do not be disheartened
For I bring hope to you.

It is no secret what God can do
What He's done for others He will do for you
With arms wide open He'll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do.

There is no night for in His light
You'll never walk alone
Always feel at home
Wherever you may roam.

No evil power can conquer you
While God is on your side
Just take Him at His promise
Don't run away and hide.

It is no secret what God can do
What He's done for others He will do for you
With arms wide open He'll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do...

What A Wonderful World
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
Bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really sayin', "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

“I don’t mind the pain, because I believe in You.”  “No evil power can conquer you; it’s no secret what God can do.”  “Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” 
I think I felt my sister’s hand holding mine, as I drove through the dark night, listening to her music.  I wasn’t alone.  And I remembered that I never am.  That’s what faith does; it makes me realize I am not alone.  And I need not be anxious. 
Have faith!


  1. Thank you. On behalf of all of us who have needed this today, thank you.

  2. As my mixed up body cycle tried to catch some sleep today, I picked up my Dilbert desk calendar and tore off all the remaining days of the year. Know what the cartoon for December 31 said?
    Dilbert: "It's New Year's Eve. Do you want to stay up until midnight?" Dogbert: "Only losers wait until midnight. The Dogbert New Year begins at 10PM."
    Dilbert: "It's 10PM now."
    Dogbert: And I like to celebrate by giving myself a hug."

    That told me I must not a loser, because I feel like I need a hug, right now.