August 18, 2016 by eneubauer
I have been interested in politics since I was a kid and if asked, my friends would label me as “passionate.” Every election year poses its unique set of circumstances that challenge voters to make the best possible choice among the candidates. In addition, many will volunteer for local, state and national races – I did years ago and it was quite fun.
Since becoming a Christian I have allowed my faith coupled with reason to assist me in making sound choices regarding those I have voted for. Hindsight being 20/20, I have not always been happy with the decisions my candidate made while in office. A frustrating truth that happens with regularity – there is a distinct chasm between campaign promises and actions taken after elected and in office. This fact, along with other motivating factors, have always challenged me to stay involved and be informed so I can make the best possible choice in every election.
I have to admit, this Presidential election year and the news mania surrounding the main party candidates as well as the media isolation of the minor party candidates has me very concerned. For a variety of reasons, I find myself checking out more often then checking in. Our polarized politics and society in general along with the discontent in the air has led me to a decision. I am purposefully disconnecting from the “crazy talk” on all sides to spend more time in silence / solitude to cast my cares “upon the Lord” in search for true clarity, wisdom and a way forward among what seems to be unacceptable choices.
Choices I have made:
- Increasing time spent in personal devotion. If our faith is a guide as we make important decisions then I want to be connected, at a deeper level, to the source of wisdom. I am spending more time in purposeful prayer using the Liturgy of the Hours routine of morning, midday, evening and night prayer. It has added a new dimension to my prayer life.
- Increasing time spent in my own catechetical development. I opened up my Catechism the other day and found a flyer for the “Year of Faith” called by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012-13. It reminded me of the importance of catechesis – learning the faith the Church protects and proclaims. There is often a clear difference between what people say the Catholic Church teaches and what the Church actually says about herself. It would be a tremendous benefit to begin a movement of lay people committed to rediscovering their faith. Pick up a Catechism, a Catholic Bible and find a group of others willing to do the same. Start a discussion group and see for yourself what the Church says about the most pressing issues of our day.
- Increasing time spent in reflection. Think about it…everyone is vying for your time (space in your head). Unconsciously, we are allowing ourselves to be “catechized” by the culture, the constant messaging we receive through the internet, radio and TV. I realized that part of my growing discontent with politicians and political discourse was connected to the fact that I was spending more time listening to secular media (etc.) and the vision they were promoting and not enough on the message God promotes through His Church, the Church Fathers, Religious, Holy Scriptures, and prayer. Therefore, I am creating a new rhythm. I am gaining more time for personal reflection by shutting down the secular message machine and using time saved to read, reflect and pray.
- Increasing time spent serving others. I find that when I focus on others and stop focusing on myself, the current political environment, etc. etc. etc., God gives me perspective. He usually reminds me of what is really important. The Church reminds us that we can be most effective and create lasting change when we act individually / communally at the local level especially for the sake of the common good – an idea behind Subsidiarity. The other day I was at our parish food pantry and Bill (a resident in need) asked for a ride home. I said yes and we had an amazing conversation. Say yes today – find someone struggling and in need and lend a helping hand. It will shape you and remind you what is most important in life. I am committing to spending more time in local, practical service to others in need.
Finally, let me say that change, lasting impact, the making of a movement begins with us. We become agents of change when we embrace true self-reflection, personal conversion and spiritual / intellectual development.
It’s a hard lesson because some don’t want to admit that we have areas within that are inadequately developed or lacking maturity. I am here to say that we are on this pilgrimage together and by keeping our eyes on Jesus we can gain that which we lack and develop a mature, wise and rock-solid faith.
I am not always right nor do I always make the best decisions. However, I do hold onto this promise from scripture. The Holy Spirit’s job is to lead and guide each of us into all TRUTH. In light of this promise, I am attempting to go to the Source to find that wisdom so woefully lacking in our current political discourse and in society.