Coping With Election Losses: Most Conservatives Turn to God and Prayer, Many Liberals Turn to the Streets

Featured

This presidential campaign season was clearly the most unusual our nation has ever seen.  But its uniqueness did not end when the election was over.  After a stunning defeat, liberals went to the streets to demonstrate, often not peacefully, when the younger ones weren’t looking for “safe places” to hide in universities because a Democrat would not be in office for the first time since they were in grade school.

Please don’t be misled.  Tuesday, November 5, 2012 was one of the top five disappointing days of my now eleven presidential elections.  Persons of faith knew that the infamous “phone and pen” would bring more attacks on all freedoms, especially religious.  So, what did we do?  We turned to the one who is ultimately in charge, despite all human attempts to destroy His plans.  We continued our prayers to God and promised to redouble our efforts to try to live in His will, regardless of the outcomes in our lifetimes.

However when they suffer defeat, many liberals feel an especially strong leaning toward despair as their hope is in man, as the data in the footnote shows.1   Man is not the ultimate power in determining his destiny.  Many may disdain religious faith and Natural Law as being crutches for the weak by saying, “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them…”2 or attempting to justify same-sex “marriage” as being modern justice in place of timeless values.

It not only doesn’t work, but it does not bring the peace needed to deal with stinging adversity and achieve constructive change.  Thus, we have the violent demonstrations against Trump’s election.   So, who are the real hate mongers?

1 – “In a poll about American’s attitudes toward religious freedom, Republicans, and especially conservatives, are standout churchgoers. For Republicans, 46 percent said they “regularly attend,” Democrats 23 percent. Just a quarter of Republicans, 24 percent, never attend or refused to answer the question compared to 46 percent of Democrats.”

“And when separated by ideology, only 18 percent of liberals said they regularly attend church and 62 percent said they never go. For conservatives, 41 percent regularly attend and 34 percent never go.”

While the article adds, “But among the nation, belief in God remains high, even among those unaffiliated with any church,” the true priorities are displayed by actions, not just lip service.

From “Church poll:  Just 18% of liberals regularly attend, 62% never,” by Paul Bedard, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/church-poll-just-18-of-liberals-regularly-attend-62-never/article/2569673, 8/6/2015.

2 – “Obama : ‘They cling to guns or religion,’” http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2008/april/obama-they-cling-to-guns-or-religion.html, 4/13/2008.

Not BusyNess, But Faith-filled Loving and Hope

Featured

When we ask each other how our lives are, what are the most common responses?  Many rely on the well-used “everything has been hectic.”  Recently, “it’s been crazy” has gained popularity.  Could the Freudian connection to “insanity” be any more telling?

Sometimes events can be truly out of control and beyond much influence from us.  But for this condition to be so widespread, it indicates a shift in our priorities instead of just our lots in life.  Jesus doesn’t ask us to be hectic or crazy, but to love others as he loves us.1,2

If we remember that God sometimes speaks in a whisper,3 perhaps we will make the effort to separate ourselves from the noise of the world which distracts us from Him.  C.S. Lewis wrote about a senior devil who was mentoring his nephew in the book, “The Screwtape Letters”who said:

“We will make the whole universe a noise…We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end.”4

That noise can be literal noise such as constantly being plugged into music, endless activities and social media.  Or it can come from allowing the multitude of anxiety-causing dramatics of “news” programs to frighten us.

Fear is not from God, but from the Father of Lies. We should remind ourselves and encourage each other to focus on strengthening our faith in Him, the one who is truly in control of everything.  In that way, we are less likely to hide behind unnecessarily busy schedules which prevent us from having life-giving peace in our lives.

 

 

 1 – “I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13: 34-35)  ) from “The New Catholic Answer Bible,” Fireside Catholic Publishing; Wichita, KS, 2005.

2 – “Without love, everything is painful, everything is tiring, everything is burdensome.”  From “I believe in Love: A personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux,” by Jean C. J. d’Elbee, M.Teichert, M.Stebbins, http://amzn.to/29PvmaR

3 – “After the earthquake there was fire, — but the Lord was not in the fire.  After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.  A voice said to him, ‘Elijah, why are you here?’  (1 Kings 19: 12-13)  from “The New Catholic Answer Bible,” Fireside Catholic Publishing; Wichita, KS, 2005.

4 – From “Baird: Why We Need Silence (Not Cell phones),” by Julia Baird, http://www.newsweek.com/baird-why-we-need-silence-not-cell-phones-81149, 10/21/2009.

To the Grandchild I Won’t Meet Until Eternal Life

Dear Little One,

It has been two and a half weeks since your parents learned that we would not have the chance to meet you in this life. The days leading up to that event were filled with anxiety and prayer for your wonderful parents. They had wanted you so much since their wedding three years ago. I learned of their fears just the day before the doctor confirmed that you had preceded us to Heaven. Just that one day of uncertainty was difficult. Through it all, the faith that all things eventually work out for the best for those who trust in God was the overriding thought.

We had been looking forward to your arrival next February with so much anticipation and joy. We cannot know the reason why we will not be able to show you the wonders and beauty of the world God created. More importantly, however, we are comforted by the fact that it was God’s plan that you would see His face and dwell in His infinite love without having to experience the struggles of an earthly life.

In addition, you have met the relatives we miss and whose memories we cherish because they completed their time on earth before we have. I can imagine the greeting you received from my father, your great-grandfather Rubio, when you arrived! It also brings a smile to know that you are also with your youngest aunt who, just like you, was given the “express route to Heaven” a number of years ago.

I promise to focus on being grateful for your eternal joy over my disappointment of having to wait to know you. Until then, please bring your family’s prayers along with the rest of the holy ones’ to the throne of God asking that those of us still fighting the good battle may have the wisdom to seek His Will, not ours. Thanks for your intercession and that of the entire Church Victorious!   🙂

With love and constant remembrance,

Grandfather Rubio (1955-20??)

Murders in Nairobi Must Strengthen Our Resolve Against Evil

The heinous events beginning over the weekend at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi bring great sadness to people of good will.  It must also bring a renewed determination to not become fearful.  The battle against Evil did not begin with the World Wars of the 20th century or with the greed accelerated by the Industrial Revolution or with Attila the Hun, etc.  It started with the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  The effects resulting from the fall from Paradise will be with us until the Second Coming of Christ.

Despite pre- and post-election claims by the Administration to the contrary, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are anything but conquered.  Events of the last few years and from all over the world should make this obvious.  That most of these terrorists believe their murderous actions belong to a fight-to-the-death worthy cause is just part of our post-Fall plight.

As St. Paul reminded (bishop) Timothy:

“In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and
deceived.  But you,  remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it… I charge you in the
presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who judge the living and the dead,
and by His appearing and His kingly power:  proclaim the word; be
persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand,
encourage through all patience and teaching.  For the time will come when
people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and
insatiable curiosity,  will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to
the truth and will be diverted to myths.  But you, be self-possessed in all
circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry.”  (2 Timothy 3: 12-14 and 4: 1-5)1

Evil is most effective in scaring those who believe that this earthly life is the only thing that matters.  We have been assured that Good will triumph over Evil once and for all.  We are not empowered to set the timetable, but to remain steadfast in our mission.

Let’s make sure we are not intimidated by Evil and that we continue to persevere.  Then, the day will come when we will be able to say, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4: 7)1

1 – from “The New Catholic Answer Bible,” Fireside Catholic Publishing, Wichita, KS, 2005

On the 50th Anniversary of My First Holy Communion

How the anniversaries can sneak up on us!  Looking back on that May 12, 1963 in Corpus Christi Church in suburban Cincinnati, I remembered feeling happy for my parents as well.  Even for a first-born, it was probably odd for me as an 8-year old to be taking in the moment for what it meant to them as well.  The magnitude of the event was certainly not lost on me that day!

Much has happened in the succeeding half-century.  I have gone from being a third grader with two younger sisters to being the patriarch of the U.S. branch of the family (my Colombian father died in 1995) with three children in their twenties.  Reviewing my life as a son, then as a father to my current point in life leaves me with mixed feelings.

The same can be said for our United States.  There has been some progress in areas of social justice, but a majority of our accomplishments have been technological.  Just over six months after my big day in May of ’63, President Kennedy was killed.  Five years later, Dr. King and the President’s brother Bobby were also assassinated.  Since then our abundantly blessed nation has spiraled into the current post-Christian era where moral relativism is dominant.  Technology is the darling, wisdom the neglected child.

Fortunately for humanity, some things remain steadfast and unchangingly true.  One of these is the Real Presence of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

We can choose from a number of Scripture verses to confirm this in addition to the fact that this sacrament was understood by the disciples to be His Body and Blood from the moment Christ instituted it on that original Holy Thursday.1

1)  The words of Jesus at the Last Supper2,3

2)  The Bread of Life Discourse  when, for the only time, some of His followers left Him because they knew He was not speaking symbolically about eating His flesh and drinking His blood.4,5

3)   St. Paul’s warning to treat the Eucharist with the utmost respect, something not befitting a mere symbol.6

Humanity’s spiritual decline can be reversed before it leads to inevitable ruin.  My fervent wish is that all Christians may someday be reunified in the faith handed down by Christ.  What greater way to start than by understanding and appreciating one of His greatest gifts: His body and blood, available to us daily!

 

1 – (All of the quoted verses are taken from “The New Catholic Answer Bible,” Fireside Catholic Publishing, Wichita, KS, 2005 with the exception of footnote #5)  “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was handed over, took bread, and after He had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.’  In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.”  (1 Corinthians 11: 23-26)  [Item #3 continues with some following verses in footnote #6]

2 – “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to His disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’  Then He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.’”  (Matthew 26: 26-28)

3 – “Then He took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.’”  (Luke 22:19)

4 – excerpts include:  “’I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.’  The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?’  Jesus said to them, ’Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.’”…  “Then many of His disciples who were listening said, ‘this saying is hard; who can accept it?’” …  “As a result of this, many [of] His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him.”  (John 6: 51-54, 60, 66)
Fr. Kevin Fete: “This is the only time that I can recall in the Gospel accounts when we have people walking away as a group from Jesus Christ.”  Dr. Ray Guarendi: “You’re absolutely right.  It IS the only time.”  Fr. Fete: “Now there is the story about the rich man who doesn’t want to separate himself from his things, and he walks away sadly.”  Dr. Guarendi:  “But he wasn’t a follower.”  (Episode 5 in “What Catholics Really Believe,” Nineveh’s Crossing, Novi, MI, 2010)

5 – Dr. Guarendi: “’This IS my body,’ not, ‘This represents my body.’… not, ‘This symbolizes my body.’  He didn’t say, ‘Do this in memory of me,’ because He means it’s a memorial meal.  John is saying, ‘No, no, no, no, no.  Anybody who’s got doubts about this, let me rehammer this home.” … Later in this episode, Dr. Guarendi:  “’It is the spirit that gives life, while flesh is of no avail.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.’ (John 6:63)  So some say, ‘See, He wasn’t speaking literally, He was speaking symbolically… ‘Spirit’ never means “symbol” in Scripture, does it?  When you say, ‘The words are spirit,’ there’s no place in Scripture where ‘spirit’ is ever translated as ‘symbol.’  Spirit is real.”  (Ibid.)

6 – “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.  A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”  (1 Corinthians 11: 27-29)

The Pope’s Resignation and Our Trust in the Holy Spirit

Surprise events like Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement today that he will resign at the end of the month bring a wide range of emotions depending on the individual.  For starters, losing one of the greatest theologians to serve as pope is distressing.  I sorted through various feelings, arriving in staccato fashion, in a matter of minutes.  I soon realized that my primary concern was that an old nemesis, apprehension to change, was ascending to the top of the list.

This has been a nuisance companion dating back to my pre-memory days.  It all started when we moved from my first home, an apartment, to a two-family house.  I was seventeen months old at the time and my mother wasn’t with me because she was at the hospital having my first sister.  Life seemed out of control that day, as I have been told!  Other changes, perhaps not intentionally disruptive, nevertheless left their impressions over the years.  In all cases, however, fallible humans were involved.

But this will not be an issue as a new pope is chosen.  This verse keeps resonating: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

What more reassurance do I need than these words from our Savior?  The Holy Spirit will guide the coming conclave once again as it elects the 267th pope.  We’re in the best of hands!

 

1 – Matthew 16:18 as quoted in “What Catholics Really Believe,” Nineveh’s Crossing, Novi, Michigan, 2010

Best Wishes to Everyone in 2013 and an Exhortation

Happy New Year to fellow WordPress bloggers and followers!  The brief three months since I joined have been very rewarding and educational.   I’m looking forward to the next twelve months as we strive to present topics of worth through this amazing medium.

The calendars may have changed, but the world’s challenges are the same as they were yesterday.  To make progress, we would do well to follow the moral of the well-known story which Fr. Matthias Wamala, assistant pastor at St. Joseph Church in Cold Spring, KY, repeated to the congregation this morning.  He prefaced it by reminding us that God speaks to us individually, not just to everyone as a whole.  We needn’t feel that we are just one in a billion or so; and thus, are not important.  Because each of us is important to Him.

Speaking of “everyone,” the summarized story began with the realization that something needed to be done.  “Everybody” assumed “somebody” would do it because it was something “anybody” could do.  As a result, “nobody” did it. Let us remember that each of us is a “somebody” in God’s eyes.  By taking action, we’ll encourage an environment in which everyone starts participating in making the world a better place.

In so doing, we’ll be able to look back a year from now and see the difference!