October 31, 2016

Vatican II Speaks To The Election

Maybe like a lot of people, I find the choices for the next president of the USA disappointing. Even if I had bothered to ask for an absentee ballot--I'm registered at home in a very blue state and so I didn't think it mattered much--I don't know if I could vote for either of them.

The passage from Gaudium et spes, "The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World," in the Office of Readings today spoke to my situation:
Nevertheless, people should take heed not to entrust themselves only to the efforts of some, while not caring about their own attitudes. For government officials who must at one and the same time guarantee the good of their own people and promote the universal good are very greatly dependent on public opinion and feeling. It does them no good to work for peace as long as feelings of hostility, contempt and distrust, as well as racial hatred and unbending ideologies, continue to divide people and place them in opposing camps. Consequently there is above all a pressing need for a renewed education of attitudes and for new inspiration in public opinion. Those who are dedicated to the work of education, particularly of the young, or who mold public opinion, should consider it their most weighty task to instruct all in fresh sentiments of peace. Indeed, we all need a change of heart as we regard the entire world and those tasks which we can perform in unison for the betterment of our race.
(my emphasis)

There are no saviors. There is one Savior and his salvation is enough.

If we want something better, we must start with ourselves. We must seek and cultivate peace in our own hearts and minds, calming and healing the wars of our own passions, wounds, angers, and bitterness. We must then seek peace in our families and neighborhoods, in our workplaces and communities. Peace between different cultures and opinions. Peace between authorities and the communities they serve. Peace between those who have injured our society and their victims. Peace between those of us fortunate to have been born and those still on the perilous journey from conception to birth.

We must not settle for the peace that is simply the absence of conflict, the tense equilibrium between opposing forces and interests. This is the peace that the world gives. (John 14:27) Rather, we must strive for the peace that is a lively and active force for reconciliation, seeking to repair relationships, willing to be humble before one another, ready to do penance for the injuries and injustices in which each of us is complicit.

When we have done this, I am confident that we will see ourselves reflected in better choices for our leaders.

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