Although I try to keep blissfully free from knowledge of some of the risible affairs euphemistically called politics, I can't remain totally uninformed or unaffected by what passes as the "news." It's a shame and an embarrassment to hear about the conniving and the accusations being flung from political pole to pole. I'll be we're the laughingstock of non-Americans worldwide. "Collusion" or "harassment" or "sex scandal," or gay "rights" or media manipulation of public opinion, and the like -- these have become some of the political "issues" in this sad moment in our country. Certainly there are other things that concern us such as crime, the economy and taxes, health care, international security, immigration, the free expression (or else abatement) of religion. For me, however, these valid and relevant concerns are so buried in the ideological ranting as to give me, if not nausea, disgust when following the daily news.
But on July 4th we manage somehow to put all these divisiveness aside and celebrate Independence Day together. It's a momentary respite in the cultural war, a kind of national truce when all or most of us can be proud patriots and observe a secular sabbath rest from the political wrangling. "One nation under God" is the phrase we utter in common, even though it has itself become a matter of contention.
While we pray together the holy rosary after all our Masses here "for God's mercy on our country," I have been adding to the intentions in my daily private prayers, "for the conversion of our people to the ways of righteousness and of Catholicism." "People" in that intention means our American people, and "righteousness" means "moral goodness." My prayer is that Americans may be delivered from the perverse ideological leanings that have caused so much ruination in our country and that they would be open to the full truth of the Catholic faith -- the one and only Christian religion founded by Christ. That's a tall order, one might say, an awful lot to tack on to one's prayer intentions. Agreed. Yet undaunted by the enormity of it I have now with even greater boldness added to this already heavily-laden intention the same prayer intention for our neighbors in Canada. This comes as a result from speaking to some Catholic Canadians recently who are smarting even more than we from the same philosophical poisons that have been dividing and corrupting us Americans. Religious liberty is seriously endangered for our friends to the north, and it is -- naturally -- the Catholic religion and its moral tenets that are the target for elimination from the governing and even from the minds of Canadians.
Would it be too much to ask you to make the mental (if not outspokenly verbal) intention in your daily prayers, "for God's mercy on our country and on Canada"? It would be a very literal and concrete way of having effective Christian charity on our "neighbor," in this case, our geographic neighbor. Over the issues that trouble and conflict Canadians we stand in a unified worry, for we are all solicitous that the rights of Christ be protected.
While the most blissful month of July is at hand when your pastor tries to forget (not you, but) some of the mundane aspects of parish business, there looms in the not-too-distant future our August 15th celebration. My simple appeal to you is to become much involved in the preparation, the events themselves, and the follow up of Assumption Day 2018. I was reminded at the recent preparation meeting for the feast day that my revered predecessor Monsignor Sawher would goad, urge, and exhort parishioners from the pulpit to take August 15th as a holiday and to clear home calendars so that the entire day could be devoted to Our Lady at the parish. Taking my cue from him I ask you to make this your day of parish involvement and pride by being present and active throughout the day, praying and assisting in the various activities. If Grotto holds a special place in your heart, this is the time to prove it in action. Although it may seem that I'm asking a great favor, the reality is that you will get the greater benefit for the investment of your time and work. Plan now to be a big part of our feast day.
Monday, July 02, 2018
July 4th, partisan politics, Canada, and the Feast of August 15th
Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, July 1, 2018):