A goal worth achieving.
One week from today Americans go to the polls in a non-presidential election year to vote on candidates who promise the sky, not to mention propositions ad nauseum. How many out there are as fed up as we are with all the ads and hollow rhetoric by politicians leading up to the November 3rd elections? Me thinks Jesus and His Blessed Mother are also greatly saddened by this jabberwocky that emanates from people we're supposed to trust to lead us in government. When Christ said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" we doubt He was talking about American politics! If we were to believe everything these forked-tongued wonders spout then we would have to assume their opponents aren't even worthy to serve a life term in San Quentin or Sing Sing. That's how bad they paint a picture of the character and caliber of those running against them on this or that ticket. Often times it seems like whether they are Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter, that they are all pondscum. But God did not create man to be treated thus or to be considered lower than the dregs. And He did not intend that mankind would be so gullible and dumb to believe these lies being bandied about for the sake of greed, power and expediency to a selfish cause that has nothing to do with the welfare of the populace. Rather, the Almighty intended to redeem man by promising, after the fall of Adam and Eve, that He would send a Savior - His only begotten Son to elevate mankind back to the status God had always intended before the fall and before His fallen angel lucifer and his disgruntled cohorts became major players in the struggle for man's eternal soul. Like the current person who occupies the highest office of the land, most politicians today are mere pawns in satan's grand plan to desensitize us to the dignity of man as a temple of the Holy Spirit. That is lost on the current administration who try mightily to camouflage the transgressions of the president as minimal and then have the audacity to go out into the highways and biways, hamlets and small town America and big cities, malls and townships, airwaves and tube to promote more of the same with very little morality being heard and no humility whatsoever. There are many, mostly Republicans, who are stressing that character counts and they are right. The question is, do they have enough character to change back to the principles they supposedly espouse? In other words, will they truly practice what they preach? We'd like to believe they would but, sadly, truth be known it will just be more of the same.
Or will it? Here in California, where former San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson has sat in the governor's chair for eight years, there is a tightly contested race between the Democrats entry Gray Davis, an avowed abortionist even though he has Catholic roots, and Republican Attorney General Dan Lungren who has gone out of his way to defend pro-life and, in a twist unheard of in politics, speaks proudly of his Catholicism in insisting that abortion is wrong. Naturally the pro-aborts are jumping on this in trying to rally the culture of death masses to reject Lundgren because he is both pro-life and Catholic. It is so refreshing to hear a candidate say "the polls be damned, I'm going to speak my convictions." That is exactly what Dan Lungren is doing, going against the grain so-to-speak in living his faith no matter the consequences. Grass-roots support show his message is making an impact. Whether it will be enough to catapult him into the governor's seat in Sacramento and awaken a renaissance of renewed morality in America remains to be seen and prayed for. We all know the fate of another great Catholic pro-lifer Alan Keyes who was derided by the media and smothered by his opponents' war chests in his bid for the presidency of the United States. There are also innumerable candidates for local offices and Congress who are speaking up for God's laws and following their beliefs despite the chances that it could backfire. To all of them we say more power to them. But that's not what is important. What is important that God is saying more power to them. Didn't Jesus say that if you acknowledge Him, He will acknowledge you? While that is true, we also have been bombarded by those who bandy about the name of the Lord in hypocritic ways that call to mind Our Lord's words in Matthew 7: 21, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven shall enter the kingdom of Heaven.". Listen closely to what He says in the same paragraph, verse 23: And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity!'" Isn't that what we have today among many of these politicians - "workers of iniquity?" But, in the democratic procedure assured by our forefathers, we have the opportunity to vote out those "workers of iniquity" and hopefully replace them with someone who can make a difference and restore America's honor before God. So, once again, through the beautiful gift of free will, we can make a difference but we must be committed to following through and not being afraid to stand up for Christ no matter what the opposition or earthly consequences. Besides exercising our rights at the ballot box, we can also exercise our God-given rights to achieve the Divine Will through prayer and it will take beaucoup petitions to Heaven to offset the work and wiles of the evil one. We know it can be done. Look at the odds at the battle of Lepanto where conquest of the superior Turkish fleet seemed an impossibility but through the power of the Rosary victory was achieved. So also with these up-coming elections where the outcome could put enough pro-life Congressmen in office that ol' Slick Willie's veto of abortion bans won't amount to a hill of beans. But we, like Dan Lungren and other Christian candidates who truly have the people's common good and God's will in mind, must continue to keep the faith!
Speaking of "keepin' the faith," if you remember last week in this column we talked about the euphoria and roller coaster ride of the San Diego Padres in reaching the pinnacle of the diamond sport by making it to the World Series. That has been the Friars' and fans' motto all year long - "Keepin' the Faith!" Well, to many it would seem like the faith was lost with a four and out fall classic in which the hated Yankees (can't say "damn Yankees" in a Catholic publication can we?) swept our beloved home team. Yet, there were few tears in San Diego and many, including our sons, learned what "keepin' the faith" really means. It was a valuable lesson for all. In fact, when put into perspective there were no losers at all. How many would stay an hour after the last game and cheer for your vanquished heroes until you were hoarse? The answer: 60,000 plus die-hard Padre fans! How many would turn out two days later for a parade downtown where people were 20 deep for seventeen blocks? The answer: 200,000 San Diegans who crowded downtown on Friday afternoon to thank their team. How many kids understand that, though they prayed their hearts out for the Pads to win, it was not meant to be and through that they were truly keepin' the faith? The answer: We don't know about the countless other kids, but we do know our two sons finally realized that "keepin' the faith" means accepting whatever happens and not despairing, not asking God "why" but learning that good can come out of all things - even defeat. They learned that the sun will shine the next day and that life goes on and they are stronger for being involved. Oh, sure, it still hurts, but having the faith and knowing that God won't let you suffer more than you can handle is a confidence builder that helps dull the pain of losing and knowing that someday we'll all be winners in Heaven. Would we change anything by being less involved if it meant hurting less when they lose? Not really because to really experience something, to be really committed to a cause, you have to throw yourself in lock, stock and barrel and accept the chills and spills. That's the only way to strive for the rewards. Our role model for this is Jesus Who threw Himself into redemption full-force even to dying on the Cross. What if He had taken the attitude of playing the salvation role from a distance. Do you think it would have had the impact on others it did? Do you think Christians would have gone to their deaths with the total commitment to Him as martyrs if He had not been so committed? Do you think His Church would have been able to survive the schisms, unrest and persecutions throughout the centuries if He had not been so committed and expected the same of us? The answer: No way!!! Therefore, when someone like Dan Lungren and a handful of other honest Christian candidates along with loyal Catholics including our two sons remain committed to "keepin' the faith" then there's reason to smile and feel good about the coming Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for we can all agree that's a goal worth achieving.