Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-Election Thought - Job 2:10 We accept good things from God; and should we not accept evil?

Last night, after President Obama was re-elected, a passage from Job came to mind. Today, that same passage was in the reading for Lauds (morning prayer in the Divine Office). Here is that reading (emphasis mine in bold):
Job 1:21; 2:10b 
Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall go back again. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord! We accept good things from God; and should we not accept evil?

Fr. William Most, in a commentary on the Book of Job explains:
Job consists of a prose introduction and conclusion - which may have existed separately from the rest, and of a large poetic core. Satan - who seems not to be the same as the devil, merely an opponent - tells God that Job would not obey if he were afflicted. God gives permission to afflict Job greatly. So Job's suffering is permitted as a test - an idea that is a bit new, for usually suffering had been considered as a divine punishment for sin (and it could be that).

Three friends of Job come, but do not really console him: they say he must have sinned or the affliction would not have come. Job insists on his innocence. The fact that God could afflict an innocent man disturbs Job, he almost becomes angry with God at some points. Finally he asks the Almighty to answer him. God does speak from a storm: Would Job condemn God so he, Job could seem just? Job confesses he has not reacted well, he has tried to deal with things above him, he repents in dust and ashes. God directs Job's friends to ask Job to pray for them, so their fault may be pardoned. In the prose conclusion Job gets back much more than what he had lost.

I'm not willing to call anyone evil. Satan is pure evil; but, people can represent evil by their words and actions. Barack Obama is a man who, as senator, wanted to deny medical help to infants who survive abortion. It is nothing short of infanticide to leave a living newborn on a cold shelf to die after surviving chemical abortion. This is a man who backs partial birth abortion, which is also a form of infanticide (click here to understand how this is done). Obama has paved the way for persecution of christians and others who cannot freely practice their religion if forced to engage in activities long taught to be gravely sinful, such as those brought on by the HHS mandate. Despite these things, God thirsts for the soul of Barack Obama as much as he thirsts for any of our souls. Our love should imitate God's, which is unconditional. And, because we know God's justice is not unconditional, in our charity, we must pray for the soul of Barack Obama and for all who are allied with him on these things. We must also pray for those who dismissed the Catholic non-negotiables in voting for Obama.

God is pure goodness and because of this, God does not will evil; he permits it.  We also know that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Rom 5:20). With an understanding of this, I do not believe that God willed the re-election of Barack Obama; I believe He permitted it.  

Job was afflicted not for his sinfulness, but to be tested. We don't know if God is afflicting us to test our faith, or to correct waywardness. Perhaps it is both.

I do believe the U.S. bishops are being tested. Their best effort barely moved the needle, proving that much needs to be done on the evangelization front, and this is just with existing Catholics. Newer priests have undergone better formation and the bishops are still dealing with a remnant of dissenting priests working against them. According to a Fox News exit poll, Obama won Catholic voters by 50% - 48% (54% - 45% in 2008). Those attending Mass weekly broke for Romney 57% - 42% (this was 50% - 49% in 2008 for McCain). Hence, of those who go to Mass weekly, there was a gain of 7%. This is a step in the right direction, but still sad to think about. Even 42% of weekly Mass-attending Catholics voting for Obama is stifling. Dr. Pia de Solenni, in her post today, says (my comments bracketed in red):

As Catholics, we have just begun the Year of Faith. If anything, this election tells me that we need to proclaim the truth that our faith teaches, particularly as it concerns the dignity of the human person. Let’s not try to sanitize the values issues with talk of the economy. It hasn’t worked. At the same time, there are a lot of Catholics voting who don’t understand or accept the Catholic Church’s consistent teaching on social values [it's morality in general they don't understand because you find many practicing Catholics who think nothing of cohabitation and pre-marital sex.  There's been silence from the pulpit on these things and it is not uncommon to find complaints of people in such states distributing Communion or serving on parish councils.  And, simply talking about morality is not enough - they need to understand where the Church gets these teachings and explain her moral authority]. That’s a great place to start our Year of Faith. As a church, we need to teach. As citizens, we need to voice our opinions, even when we fear that they might be unpopular. [Amen]
Playing it safe just got us four more years of unprecendented support for the victimization and destruction of the least among us. It just guaranteed us a long, uphill battle to protect our freedoms of religion and conscience. What better way to start this next four years than with the Year of Faith? [Exactly - it has to start with a foundation before people come to understand other things]

I do believe we are being tested. If we are willing to accept good things from God, should we not accept evil?  If so, how we respond is what God is going to look for.  We must start by learning the faith well and living it, and helping others to understand it.  We must strive for virtue and personal holiness, giving an appealing example to souls who search for truth.  We must pray and give God his due.  When we see something that is displeasing to God, offer up a prayer or small sacrifice in reparation for the offense. We can begin today by making some act of reparation for the many Catholics gave Obama another four years to advance a militantly anti-life and anti-family agenda.

I leave you with a quote from St. Teresa of Avila:

Let nothing disturb you, 
Let nothing frighten you, 
All things are passing away: 
God never changes. 
Patience obtains all things 
Whoever has God lacks nothing;God alone suffices. 
-- St. Teresa of Avila


I haven't had a chance to read many commentaries out there, but I did read this one by Msgr. Charles Pope.  He sums things up pretty good with regards to what this means for the Catholic Church in America: Difficult Days Ahead for the Church?

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