Speaking of sleeping, that's what we've been doing as a nation. We've fallen into a stupor where right and goodness are weaknesses and immorality is the norm. More than some of the people have been duped most of the time. Over and over, Clinton has fooled the people and they just keep coming back for more lies, more cover ups, more of the same disregard for morals and values. This, folks, is a proud man who spits in the eye of God's virtues and gives lip service to platitudes only when it is politically expedient with nary a hint of sincerity or true contrition. Lincoln once said, "If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem." Are you listening, Bill Clinton?
There was a big brouhaha last week over the article in People magazine which carried an eight-page feature on Chelsea Clinton and her relationship with her mother Hillary. The Clintons were upset that their daughter was being exploited, that she deserved to be protected from the media glare. They were quite concerned over protecting their child. Did it ever occur to them that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, or should we say what's bad for the goose is equally bad for the gander? While Bill Clinton is so concerned for his daughter, that didn't seem to phase him throughout all of his affairs dating back to his good ol' boy days in Arkansas right up through his tryst with Miss Monica. His being upset over Chelsea's innocence being exploited is merely a touch of tough touche! The results of his "playing around" caused not only scandal to our children, but, in fact, has done untold damage to all of God's children. Again, it was Lincoln who said, "Knavery and flattery are blood relations." Yet the more we listen to Clinton's lies, the more we condone his licentiousness. The more we flatter his lifestyle, the more we diminish our own value system while perpetuating the fraud. The accounts we have been subjected to because of the obscene, suggestive prurient details of the affairs and the lifestyle of this amoral man have immeasurably weakened the soul of America and, as Lincoln predicted, "we cannot escape history."
The real problem lies in the lack of our being upset. To quote Bob Dole who ran a weak, losing campaign the last time around, "Where is the outrage?" That's what we would like to know. Not just from the senators who have been appointed to try him, most of whom side with whichever way the political winds are blowing, but also from parents, preachers and promoters of goodness. We fear too few priests have tackled this issue, prefering to stay clear of it because, one it is a political issue; and two, it might rock the boat regarding the "economy issue." Ah the great economy issue. Here, too, is where so many have been fooled. They think Clinton is responsible for the economy. How wrong can they be? A country's economy is not forged overnight or instantly with the change of an administration, but is something that takes years, even a decade to materialize. Without getting political, the good fortune of today's economy in America began during the Reagan administration and then Bush. Clinton is just reaping the spoils.
Speaking of spoils, are we ever! Through the leadership of men like Clinton, we have dissected the laws and moral code to fit our whims. Clinton lives by the polls and his popularity; the hell with what is right. He would be wise to take the advice of his predecessor Honest Abe who counseled, "Avoid popularity if you would have peace." Clinton may think peace can be achieved by dispatching scud missiles on Iraq, but he would be even wiser to heed Lincoln's words, "Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived." Looking at history we can see the shallowness of victories that do not have meaning. We gage victories today on how much we can get out of it. Greed has become the standard bearer on the front lines. We have become so complacent in our faith that we worship the almighty dollar and no amount of natural disaster omens or pleading has been able to stir the cold, hard, selfish hearts of a nation reveling in riches while much of the rest of the world experiences poverty. The Blessed Mother has said over and over and over again that this life is fleeting, that our economy will collapse and our nation will experience what Third World countries have suffered. Despite these warnings, we kowtow to satan's "pie-in-the-sky" platitudes and plow on out of stubborn pride as the Dow continues to rise skyward, dispelling any doubts that God knows what He's talking about in Sacred Scripture and through His Church. Only one voice speaks out clearly; albeit an aging, rasping voice that commands respect but, sadly, is considered out of touch by many of the duped ones. That voice is Pope John Paul II, the wisest, most widely known, most understanding, most trusted, most respected and most compassionate soul this century has known. Still only a handful of bishops and priests take up his clarion, only a few echo Christ's words in a sea of serpents slithering into our homes and our hearts. That is why the Holy Father has an accomplice, God's chosen messenger in His very Own Mother whom He has sent to set us straight. Still we snicker and continue on the path of destruction. When will we learn?!?
It surely will not be through the banality of the media and Washington D.C. where once we looked for guidance and right, but now is only a shallow replica of what the constitution intended. It is time for the priests and laity to stand and be counted, if not for us, then for the children. Isn't that the axiom spewed forth by the Clintons and Democrats who, in the depths of their hearts, are living the lie? If they were so concerned with "the children" would they condone abortion?!? No way, Jose! There is a double standard so evident that it duplicates the devil's desires. And we've all been willing pawns in this charade that cries out to Heaven for vengeance. Isn't it time we wake up and realize the lies? Isn't it time we realize the fact the emperor isn't wearing any clothes is a vice, not a virtue? Isn't it time we live up to what Abraham Lincoln envisioned for his people, what God expects of His children? If we can't answer "yes" to those last three questions, then we might as well continue to enjoy the good life and block out the inevitable that lies ahead, continuing blindly on this self-destructive course.
We leave you with another quote from Lincoln, "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in." We echo his words for God has given us the signs to see the right and now it is up to the few who still exalt virtue and values to finish the work in which we are embroiled on this temporary territory called earth. Catholics must be united in this crusade to win back souls, to retrieve the darkened soul of our nation and to return our country and peoples to their rightful stature with God. Our lives depend on it. But we need the unified effort of all priests, bishops, religious and laity solidly behind the Vicar of Christ in this fight to the finish. They must be willing to speak out, to stand up for what is right and proper before God, to interlock arms of truth and love in this great battle to win back our "house of honor" for, besides the Word of God and Our Lady's constant admonitions, we have Lincoln's warning that "a house divided against itself cannot stand."
I was twelve. A good kid! (My friends have asked why the change as an adult!!!) I went to Mass almost every morning before school. We lived in St. Peterís Parish and my Dadís shoe repair shop was just a half block east of the Church.
Those who know St. Peterís Church in Omaha know that one must climb many non- steep steps to enter the front door of this beautiful place of worship. One must cross 27th Street to arrive at the Church, and as I approached the street, I noticed that my dog, Caesar, was cantering toward me, but yet had not seen me. Caesar was half Collie and half German Shepherd and I loved that dog dearly.
Being the playful person I was (and am), I quickly thought that, if I would hide behind a post which held up the corner of a building, I could then jump out at Caesar as he came by and say, "Boo!" Iíd playfully rough him up a bit and then order him to continue on to my Dadís shop. (Caesar would have done so, and did so. He was very well-trained by me, of course.)
And thus, it occurred - exactly as planned. I then proceeded to church. After climbing the many steps, and as I approached the front entrance of the Church, a teacher was waiting for me. She said: "You werenít planning on coming to Mass, were you?"
I looked at her aghast, taken totally aback by what she said. She repeated her question. "You werenít coming to Mass, were you? When you saw me, you hid behind the post!" I made no explanation. (In those days, a child thought twice about defending oneself to an adult and especially talking back.) But as I continued to walk into church, I thought: "When I grow up, Iím going to try very hard not to judge others by appearances only!"
For you see, from the teacherís position, it appeared that I had jumped behind the post to hide from her, but the truth was that I had not seen her at all and she had not seen my dog, as bushes had prevented her view from where she was standing.
That experience taught me a powerful lesson, while young, that things are not always what they APPEAR to be and that it is very important to make sure of our facts before we criticize or condemn someone.
Lent begins next week. Many people will determine that they will give up candy, or movies, or cigarettes for Lent. Letís remember, that the best thing we can give up is SIN. Perhaps, we can really try to make sure of our facts before criticizing or condemning someone. I think God would be very pleased with that sacrifice and it would bring us many blessings.
In my article next week I will continue with this theme. I will tell you how two angels taught a powerful lesson - that things are not always what they appear to be.
God bless you!
There are various kinds of weariness: weariness of the body, which can be satisfied under any tree or even on a pillow of stone; weariness of the brain, which needs the incubation of rest for new thought to be born; but hardest of all to satisfy is weariness of heart, which can be healed only by communion with God.
Silence helps speech; retirement helps thinking. A contemporary of Abraham Lincoln tells us that he spent three weeks with Lincoln just after the Battle of Bull Run: "I could not sleep. I was repeating the part that I was to play in a public performance. The hour was past midnight. Indeed, it was coming near to dawn, when I heard low tones coming from the room where the President slept. The door was partly open. I instinctively walked in and there I saw a sight which I shall never forger. It was the President, kneeling beside an open Bible. The light was turned low in the room. His back was turned toward me. For a moment I was silent, as I stood looking in amazement and wonder. Then he cried out in tones so pleading and sorrowful: 'O God Who heard Solomon in the night that he prayed for wisdom, hear me; I cannot lead this people, I cannot guide the affairs of this nation without Your help. I am poor and weak and sinful. O God, Who heard Solomon when he cried to You, hear me and save this nation.'"
One wonders how many of our public officials in the great burdens that are laid upon them ever cry to God for help. When the United Nations held its first meeting in San Francisco, fearful that we might offend the atheists, it was decided to keep a minute of silence instead of praying fearlessly to God to illumine and guide the nations. It was in a moment of Peter's failure in fishing that Our Lord said: "Launch out into the deep" (Luke 5: 4). It is in the times of our failures that the soul must draw away from the shores.
What the Savior promises in the retirement is "rest for your souls." Rest is a gift; it is not earned; it is not the payment for finishing a job; it is the dowry of grace. Greed, envy, wealth and avarice think of rest in terms of the good things of the world; true rest is the stilling of passions, the control of wavering ambitions, the joy of a quiet conscience. There is no rest until life has been made intelligible. Most of the restlessness of souls today comes from not knowing why they are here, or where they are going, and they refuse to take time out to solve that problem. Until it is solved, nothing is solved. There is not even much sense in going on living unless one knows why he is living.
Driving power is always associated with inner repose; other energy is explosiveness and imprudent action. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. The renewal of strength is less physical than it is spiritual. A tired soul makes a tired body more often than a tired body makes a tired soul. The rest which Christianity enjoins is less cessation from work than it is freedom from the anxieties that come from guilt and avarice. Spiritual refreshment in prayer, retreat, and meditation are the most potent influences for restoring harmony to the thousands of nervous patients. Life, like music, must have its rhythm of silence as well as sound.
The rest which retirement and contemplation give is not just a rest from toil, but it is even a rest in toil. The peace of Christ is not a hot-house plant; it raises its head for the storms; it is peace for the battle and joy of conscience for those who assail conscience. The world cannot give it; the world cannot take it away. It is not given by outward circumstance; it rules in the heart; it is an inward state. To be spiritually minded is to have rest.
Having served the Church in Quebec and Ontario his entire life, Cardinal Carter turns 87 next month. He retired as Archbishop of Toronto on March 17, 1990 two weeks after his 78th birthday and is completely retired now. Therefore he is no longer eligible for the Sacred Conclave.