It is one of those winter days when, suddenly it seems, the darkness does not come so early in the afternoon!
These days it is well after four in the afternoon before night falls.
In a few months we will shift, here in this northern city, to a time when night will not fall until almost midnight!
Today, there being no wind, the subzero temperature almost felt warm as I took my usual Jesus Prayer and Rosary walk around the neighbourhood, with snow falling in large flakes, reminding me of a prayer of St. Faustina’s: Oh Blood and water that gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as fountain of mercy, have mercy on us.
Yes Divine Mercy, fall upon us with the lightness and beauty of today’s snow, with the lavishness which blankets all in the sweet mantle of Your grace, for the merchants of death and destruction have uttered more threats, the Holy Land is awash in blood once more, epidemics, war, poverty, heartache are all around.
Within a few days the people of Canada will have the opportunity to elect a government.
Unlike our brothers and sisters in countries like Afghanistan or Iraq, we run no physical risk on the journey to the polls, but I do wonder about the risk to our immortal souls at election time in Canada, the United States and other Western nations in particular.
I say this because it seems there is a disconnect between what we the electors profess to hold true in our heart of hearts about the Gospel of Life and the way we cast our ballots.
In most Western countries the percentage of the population who avail themselves of the opportunity to cast a ballot is very low indeed, apathy being the common reason.
There appears to be amongst many people a sense that elections merely exchange one bunch of self-interested politicians for another – or – people tend to feel that real power lies not in the ballot box but in the hands of lobbyists.
Not saying anything new here I agree, but what weighs upon my heart is the question of understanding that, besides prayer and fasting in intercession for the restoration of our countries to Christ, for the conversion of the culture of death to the Gospel of Life, our actual best defence against terrorism is to elect righteous, and yes, holy governments.
We need to beg in our countries, before we have to plead for the same physical courage exhibited most recently by our brothers and sisters in Iraq, for the spiritual courage to elect men and women of the Gospel of Life.
As posted recently on Zenit [ www.zenit.org ] Pope Benedict reminds us all we must willingly face, indeed I would say embrace with holy zeal and joy, the reality: …that professing the Christian faith demands the heroism of the Martyrs…..everywhere, even where there is no persecution, there is a high price to pay for consistently living the Gospel…Contemplating the divine Child in Mary’s arms and looking to the example of St. Stephen, let us ask God for the grace to live our faith consistently, ever ready to answer those who ask us to account for the hope that is in us.
To have the courage to vote according to the precepts of the Gospel of Life, to not keep silent around the water cooler, and most urgently in the pulpit, when truth, life, marriage, family, chastity, modesty, solidarity etc., etc. is under assault, certainly does in our day demand true courage.
My heart believes there is a real urgency we change the way we vote, that politicians change the way they govern, that priests change the way we teach, that every part of our culture convert or we could well find ourselves under a shadow worse than that which engulfed so much of the world from 1939 on and, if the terrorists have their way, camps and ovens are not that far off, yes even on the soil of Canada and the United States.
We cannot keep asking God to bless Canada, bless America if we choose, at the ballot box or in any other way, by choice or what is even worse by the default of cowardly silence, to be complicit in the culture of death.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from Whom every family in heaven and on earth gets its name, that He may grant you in accord with the fullness of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts, through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and the length, the height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge, so that you may be filled with the fullness of God. [ Eph. 3:14-19 ]