Elections and Widow’s Mites

Scripture often speaks to us in irony.

For instance in the readings today we are presented with two widows; on the widow in Zarapeth who heeds the call of the Prophet Elijah, and the widow at the Temple who tosses her two small coins into the collection. Widows were often quite poor in Biblical days, and usually resorted to begging in their poverty.

Yet here they are shown to be magnanimous sources of generosity in response to God’s call. This shows forth also in the generosity of Jesus Christ, who gave and continues to give of himself for our sanctification.

The elections this week certainly give us something to think about. In a country which is very divided, and increasingly polarized, how do we live as Christians when we often do not even agree with one another? While many disagreed on the choice of a Presidential candidate, many Catholics also disagree with core teachings of the Church and the role of Church hierarchy. And so builds even amongst the Faithful.

This week, many of us sought to change the ways we live through our elective process. Instead, God gave us the cross and the gift of faith. For the 50% who are happy over the outcome of the election, the cross is to justify a government’s growing interference in religion. Indeed, most pro-abortion arguments are decidedly unscientific, and become a sort of religion on their own, relying on emotional arguments and being promoted by the state as absolute and universal rights. For the 50% who are unhappy over the outcome, the cross is a growing certainty that the times ahead will be difficult in several ways.

But, as Catholics, and as persons of Faith, our battle is not for power, but for seeking the mind and heart of Christ and teaching others to do the same. It’s provident we have a year of faith. We need to move hearts through our prayers and actions. It is difficult, and it is the way Jesus did it.

Like the widows in today’s Scriptures, we need to act out of love and generosity for our Lord, and our neighbor, and let fears and resentments subside. Christian charity starts in the heart, and our faith remains always in Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Pre-Election Thought

At long last we come to a pivotal event in our nation’s history; Election Day 2012.

Looking at the Ballot online, there are as usual a slew of amendments; amongst them is the proposed Amendment to the Louisiana Constitution about the Right to Bear Arms? This takes me back to the Bill of Rights, and wondering how this has become an issue in our state Constitution. But it has… and I’m thankful that I took the few seconds necessary to look up the Ballot ahead of time.

Recently I found these “Rules for Civil Dialogue” on the US Bishop’s website. They offer some charitable advice on conducting political discourse, which is entirely in line with St. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians in Chapter 13 of his famous first letter to them.

“Guidelines for Political Discourse

1. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to speak.

2. Share your personal experience, not someone else’s.

3. Listen carefully and respectfully. Speak carefully and respectfully. Do not play the role of know-it-all, convincer or corrector. Remember that a dialogue is not a debate.

4. Don’t interrupt unless for clarification or time keeping.

5. Accept that no group or viewpoint has a complete monopoly on the truth.

6. “Be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than condemn it” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2478, quoting St. Ignatius of Loyola).

7. Be cautious about assigning motives to another person.”

I like these guidelines except for one thing: regarding #5, the Catholic Church does hold within it the fullness of the truth.

Monday night and Tuesday morning we are hosting Eucharistic Adoration for those willing to make an extra commitment to prayer, and to offer a Sacrifice of Praise to our God as millions prepare to vote.

My prayer for our Parish is that we seek to fulfill the wishes of Jesus Christ, who is Lord in our lives. I pray that he may guard our election and hold his own to Himself. May the holy angels surround us, and guard us in all of our ways.