“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edge sword” (Heb 4:12).
These words rang so very true the morning after this month’s election. From the top on down, the pro-life cause and the efforts to protect the sanctity of marriage took a terrible beating. It was, as we all know by now, not a pretty picture. In the end, the country was just as divided as it was before voters went to the polls.
Many of my listeners were despondent as they called into my radio show Nov. 7. One listener even said he felt abandoned by both God and by fellow Catholics because so many Catholics continued to support some of the most pro-abortion candidates the country has ever seen.
I’ll admit it was extremely tough for me to regroup for my broadcast and rouse the troops. That was until I started to realize that God was speaking to us through his Church and his word very clearly. We were not alone on Election Day, and we are not alone now.
It began with a Catholic calendar I have on my desk. The quote for Nov. 7 was from St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
“Many serve Jesus when he consoles them, but few are willing to keep company with Jesus sleeping on the waves or suffering in the garden of agony.”
What a statement about the Christian walk and who we are supposed to be on earth as the Church militant. How easy it is to say we love God when things go our way.
Then I opened my Magnificat and found the applicable words of St. Paul in his Letter of the Philippians. St. Paul reminds us to “work out our salvation in fear and trembling” and to “shine like lights” in a “crooked and perverse generation” (Phil 2:12-15).
Isn’t this the same call from Pope Benedict XVI in this Year of Faith? Aren’t we supposed to go wherever we can in a dark world helping our fellow Catholics and others get to know Jesus? Obviously God was telling us there was still much work to be done.
If the words of St. Thérèse and St. Paul weren’t enough to send chills up my spine, Jesus reminded us in St. Luke’s Gospel that we would face challenges within our own circles of friends and family and that we had to be willing to carry our own cross.
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:27).
But wait! As those infamous Saturday infomercials often proclaim, there is even more. The reflection in the Magnificat Nov. 7 was from St. Teresa of Avila’s poem “In the Hands of God” and reminded us that if we really love God, we are with him no matter what.
In Your hand I place my heart,
Body, life, and soul ...
Give me death, give me life,
Health or sickness
Honor or shame
War or swelling peace
Weakness or full strength
Yes, to these do I say what do you want of me?
When was the last time we asked that question? What do you want of me, Lord? The readings on Nov. 7 and the reminders from our saints seemed to be saying we need to refocus on what God wants and needs us to do right now in this Year of Faith. Are we going to stay inside safe under the covers or step outside and shine on a world that for the most part has turned its back on God?
No, the Lord has not abandoned us. Ultimately what happened on Nov. 6 was the result of our own free will. And even when the exercising of that free will results in some pretty bad consequences, God is still there for us, speaking to us through his Word and his saints.
Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 130.