It’s been two weeks since I’ve been able to write. So many things have happened that 1,000 words don’t begin to break the surface. Frankly, after all the losses that have been suffered recently in the name of progress, my keyboard has endured the abuse of angry, frustrated and embittered fingers, banging out thousands upon thousands of words, very few of which have been worth sharing. It is overwhelming to comprehend the speed at which our nation is changing. Or being changed.
I am but one voice in a million. But sometimes I wonder, is there anybody out there? Are we all but empty voices echoing through the darkness?
I am the daughter of not one, but two, retired Air Force veterans, each of whom spent over 20 years serving this great nation. For years my mother collected statues of eagles and virtually anything she could find with an American flag, two things that have always been revered symbols of freedom in our home. Growing up, I was taught to drop everything, stand at attention, and place my right hand over my heart whenever and wherever the National Anthem was played.
Somewhere along the line I “inherited” my mother’s habit of welling up with tears wherever the Anthem is heard in view of the flag. For most of my adult life, that combination has induced tears of pride and unmitigated awe at the amazing experiment that is the United States of America. But lately, the tears have been tinged with sadness. Sadness stemming from an overwhelming feeling of defeat. Of dread.
This country that I so love has become foreign to me – perhaps the language that I speak has become obsolete. The ancient language of Latin in a post-Christian America.
Here’s a brief recap of events from recent weeks:
- The lambasting of North Carolina for passing a law requiring people to use restrooms according to their biological gender (who would have thought this was a bigoted move?). [And the disappointment never ends – as I am typing I just received a notification that the Department of Justice has declared the NC law to be a violation of civil rights – lovely.]
- Target, one of the largest retailers in America took center-stage with their statement in support of trans-bathroom use. This quote pretty much sums up their stance:
In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
- Not a news item, but I was shocked to learn over FB and elsewhere how many friends and family members stand in solidarity with the LGBT community on this issue. While some have dissented, others have posted articles like Stop Using Your Children as an Excuse to be a Hateful Human Being and Your Silence is Deafening: An Open Letter to Target Boycotters. What a stunning realization to learn how many great people have decided that this is a nonissue.
- An employee of a Catholic University (yes, Catholic) was laid off her job and is now under investigation for committing a hate crime. Apparently, it’s now considered a hate crime to say at a Catholic university that there are two genders.
- Yesterday a Christian was in the news after being kicked out of college for his religious beliefs.
And in the world of politics – things vacillate between unbelievable and unconscionable.
- For the fist time in the history of the United States, a socialist is gaining momentum in the race for the presidency. A socialist. In Iowa, Bernie Sanders walked away with over 80% of support among 17-29 year olds. And the trend only continued from there. If it weren’t for super delegates, Democrats would most likely have a socialist representing their party this cycle. This trend doesn’t bode well for freedom.
- Last night, for all ostensive purposes, Americans nominated as a candidate representing the Republican Party, Donald Trump, a man who speaks in a more crass and disrespectful way than I’ve even seen of a public figure in the history of this country. A man who is determined to roll around in the the mud in the name of “winning.” A man who personifies everything I find distasteful about reality television. But perhaps I stand alone; for it seems that a significant number of Americans are fine with this man’s character. Based on widespread commentary, many in our country have aligned themselves with Trump, telling themselves and others that all is well because the ends justify the means.
The above list would have been unthinkable a decade ago; and yet, today it barely brushes the surface. As I said, things are changing and they are changing fast. I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown more downhearted by the day.
Nevertheless, I’m not here to drag you down with me. Instead, I’m writing to share a little encouragement. Encouragement that for me, could not have come at a better time.
Today, my kids and I finished reading Jesus of Nazareth by Mother Mary of Loyola. Her words at the book’s conclusion were a salve for my wounds. They offered hope in a time of despair. If you share my feelings about the direction of our country, perhaps they will comfort you as well:
There are men in these days who are trying to undo all that Jesus Christ has done, who deny whatever in His Life they cannot understand, and teach children that such facts as His Resurrection and Ascension could not have happened because they do not see how they happened. It is very wrong and cruel thus to rob the little ones of their faith in Him who died to save them from sin and hell.
Do not listen to such teaching. When men or women, companions, books or newspapers, would shake your faith in Jesus Christ – up, then with the shield of faith: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ His only son our Lord.
Cling to Jesus Christ. Let no one – let no thing – separate you from him. He alone, His Precious Blood, can wash away your sins. He alone can comfort you when you are poor, or sick, or desolate. He alone can give you courage in the hour of trial, victory in temptation, and help in the awful hour of death. When all desert you, then, He will stand by you and keep you from harm if you have clung to Him all your life through as our Savior and your Friend.
Cover yourselves, then, with the shield of faith when danger threatens. Be glad that as children of the Holy Catholic Church you are preserved from the ignorance and the disbelief which is taking Jesus Christ out of the hearts and lives of so many who are outside. Say to Him joyfully with Peter and with Martha: “Thou art Christ the Son of the living God.”
And be not afraid to profess your faith boldly:
Jesus is God! If on the earth
This blessed faith decays,
More tender must our love become,
More plentiful our praise.
By your reverence in His Presence, by the frequency and the fervor of your Communions, by the observance of His Commandments and of the precepts of His Church, profess your faith in Him.
And if at times it costs, as it most certainly will, to show yourselves the followers of Jesus Christ, look forward to that Day when He in His turn will confess you before the whole world. Remember that this Jesus, who has been taken up from us into Heaven, is to come again. Look forward to meeting Him with joy at His second coming, to being owned by Him then for one of His, according to His promise: “He that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in Heaven and before the Angels of God.”