The Mercy of God and the Election

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

We rightly fear the omnipotent One.  He made everything out of nothing.  His power dwarfs our capacity to conceive it.  Everything exists solely by His pleasure.  Without His will sustaining us–and sustaining the sky, and the earth, and the air–without His constant gift of existence, everything would crumble, collapse, disintegrate, vanish.

Jesus said, “All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone…Awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” (Luke 21:6)

The one thing that separates us from chaos and ultimate nothingness is: the divine good pleasure.  True wisdom involves acknowledging this fact.  If we find ourselves enjoying good things in life, it’s because God has made them and keeps them in existence, to give as gifts to us.

The wise person fears the awesomeness of the great Giver of all, Who is truly, wonderfully, magnificently good.  His power dwarfs us, and so does His goodness.  We do not measure up to it.  Rather, we receive from His largesse as unworthy beneficiaries.  He blesses us so abundantly because His love flows so freely.  Not because we have any claim on Him or any “rights” before Him.

Palermo Pantocrator Christ priestWe fear Him. But, in spite of all this, He makes amazingly friendly and intimate promises to us.  “Fear nothing,” He says, “because I myself will give you wisdom.”

The God we rightly fear does not choose to tower above us.  Rather, in the midst of all the great flux of events over which He exercises sovereign control, He moves toward us and embraces us.  By uniting Himself with us in Christ, God Almighty has Personally entered into His own creation, fragile as it all is.  He meets us right here, and clasps us to His bosom.  He makes us His friends, the friends of the King.

By the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we participate in His sovereignty over all things. We share His permanent solidity, His serene transcendence.  Created things pass.  We human beings, too, are created things that naturally pass.  But, by His grace, God has joined us to His permanent Self. So we do not pass, but rather we endure forever, with Him.

Divine Mercy.  Pope Francis gave a book-length interview, published under the title The Name of God is Mercy. The Holy Father puts it like this: “Mercy is the divine attitude which embraces; it is God giving Himself to us, accepting us, and bowing to forgive.”

Next Sunday, the Jubilee Year of Mercy will come to an end. But of course the end of the Year of Mercy doesn’t mean that, starting a week from Monday, a Year of Strict and Severe Judgment will begin.  No. God’s mercy endures forever.

Logo for Holy Year of MercyNow, we Americans have elected as our president a man who, by any reasonable estimation, is simply not a good person.  I don’t mean that, had the outcome on Tuesday been different, we would then have elected a good person. I’m not saying that.  But that’s all moot now anyway.

The man who will assume our presidency in January has lived the life of a sybarite, a liar, and a braggart. That’s not all.  There’s another two-syllable word that begins with ‘b’ which suits him perfectly.  But I won’t use that word in pulpit oratory.  I guess we have had unsteady, lying braggarts for presidents before.  And we somehow survived.

But the whole business of government involves co-operation.  And the whole business of co-operation requires trust.  And we have a president who I, for one, wouldn’t trust with five dollars of my own money for even fifteen minutes.

Christ is king.  Prayer works.  It just doesn’t always work in the way that we, with our small minds, expect.  We have, as a country, gotten ourselves into a very serious mess.  Getting out of it will cost us a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

Let’s have the humility to admit that we got the president we deserve.  We elected a man of no character; therefore, we must have serious character flaws ourselves.

Let’s close the Year of Mercy by humbly acknowledging this.  Taking collective responsibility for the great act of irresponsibility that America as a whole has induldged in, with the year-and-a-half-long mess of a presidential election that landed us in the uncharted territory where we are now.

If we put our foreheads to the ground before God and admit, Yes, Lord, this is our fault!  We find ourselves lost in the woods, and we got lost by our own nonsense!  –If we do that, then we can hope for divine mercy and gracious assistance from heaven.  Gracious assistance to help this body politic through the entire weird, unpredictable ordeal that we now face.

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21 thoughts on “The Mercy of God and the Election

  1. Not much of a DemoncRat supporter are you Father? Our poor Church. Go read some Fr. Rutler. He could teach you a lot. So could Fr. Schall. So could 60 million dead babies.. I’m not a Trump fan but the choice was flawed vs evil. Let us pray that people like Pence, Lee, Cruz, Carson and etc can bring the Holy Spirit into our government.

  2. Thank you for addressing this confusing and divisive time. Many people are trying to find their way forward, while helping and protecting the vulnerable as well as our environment and many other things. These helpers include pro-life Catholic Democrats, who are working to end the conditions that lead to abortion, and who seek to protect unborn babies AND their mothers and families. May we all seek and follow God’s loving guidance in the days, weeks, and years ahead. Thank you.

  3. 2 comments…possibly your description of Mr. Trump was probably unnecessary …2,
    one wonders if you would have given an equal description had Mrs. Clinton been the victor..
    God bless you, Father. Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you.

  4. Thank you Barn and Shawn! A point to note historically; The Democratic Party formed in the 1820’s to defend, protect and promote expansion of human slavery. The Republican Party formed in the 1840’s to counter this evil. Both parties retain their founding nature. An objective look at the core planks of each verify this clearly! Do you really think King David was a quiet, tender, powder puff touchy feely? It took more than average ‘T”-Factor to take a stone sling and face an armed warrior nearing 8’ in height as a young 20 something year old. The Dem’s divide and conquer ruthlessly and relentlessly trod upon the Church, Constitution, and Legal Citizens of this once great God Respecting Nation I love. If we the people fail to amend our ways before theGod in this brief window of Grace, we will have a Dictator next round.

  5. Read Fr Pope’s comments. I think he is a good thoughtful priest.
    The Election is Over, But There is Much Work to be Done
    This election was but a small part of a vast battle, so don’t give up the fight to bring the light of the gospel to a darkened age.
    Msgr. Charles Pope
    The recent election brings important openings and opportunities to the Church in terms of announcing the gospel. But there also remain significant and serious problems to be sober about. Our culture’s steady march away from biblical teaching and into moral darkness has been going on for many decades now, and this is not going to be stopped by one election cycle.

    The most immediate benefit, if Mr. Trump is true to his word, is that the Supreme Court will not be utterly lost. Had Mrs. Clinton won, it seems quite certain that the court would have shifted sharply to the left and there would have vanished what little remains of the last legal speedbump slowing the steady onslaught of the agenda of the left.

    As we know, even if the legislative process in this country were strong (and it is not), much ends up in the Court anyway, especially the moral issues of most concern to Catholics. All the recent decisions that were rendered 5 to 4 would have quickly become 6 to 3. There would be little or nothing to prevent the left from fully enacting its agenda, which grows ever darker and more deadly.

    For those of us who have sought to limit the slaughter of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia, there would have been little to stem the bloody tide. Religious liberty too would likely have eroded even more quickly than it has in these past years through judicial fiat and executive orders.

    Yes, it would have been a very bleak outlook for Catholics and others who are conscientious objectors to the growing cultural darkness and agenda of the so-called progressives, who have used every means to imposed their agenda on us.

    So the election results have permitted this legal speed bump of the Supreme Court to remain, unpredictable though it is.

    But all this said, we must remain clear that our culture is in very bad condition. Some of this was demonstrated with the passage of yet another euthanasia bill, this time in Colorado, and by several marijuana bills.

    Further, there is no evidence that the decline into sexual confusion will abate. Traditional marriage remains in nothing less than a crisis with high divorce rates, low marriage rates, single parenthood, cohabitation and so on. Same-sex “marriage” is already here and polygamy is on the way, already working through the courts.

    Secularism and atheism are still on the rise. There is also the rise of the “nones,” some of whom call themselves “spiritual but not religious,” some who simply live secular lives but have some vague belief in a god somewhere. And this illustrates the departure (even by those who say they believe) from revealed religion into highly personalized notions of God. Many speak of the “god within” and of “the god of my understanding.” So we live in a culture where many people think they have a perfect right to invent their own “god” and worship it. We used to call this idolatry.

    The list could go on, but the bottom line is it none of these things make for a healthy culture. And it remains true that we in the Church have a lot of work to do in re-proposing the gospel to a cynical and unbelieving age.

    It may help that we will spend less time being hauled to court than we did with the last administration. But my fear is that we will relax, rather than get busier. If the Lord has granted us a reprieve from the worse-case scenario, it is not for our pleasure and so we can enjoy repose. It is so that we can get to work, doing what we should always be doing: being Catholic and announcing the gospel.

    Let’s remember a few things:

    1. The election was very close, particularly in the popular vote. Nearly fifty percent seemed uniformed or unconcerned with Mrs. Clinton’s heinous stand on abortion — including her promise to end the Hyde amendment and increase of funding to Planned Parenthood, even after its scandalous selling of baby parts. In every critical and nonnegotiable moral issue of our time, Mrs. Clinton stood foursquare against our Church’s teaching. She declared that “religion must change,” and, according to emails of John Podesta, she headed a party that infiltrated the Church in order to sow seeds of dissention and division. That fifty percent of our country either disregarded this or saw other issues as more important is sobering. And that any candidate gets any support at all who steadfastly supports, even celebrates, the dreadful practice of abortion that has resulted the death of almost 60 million children, is shocking. It shows we have a lot of work to do.

    2. Further, there is no clear indication that President-elect Trump is with us on all the non-negotiable moral issues. At best, he is soft on the agendas of the LBGTQ community. He seems to support euthanasia, and so forth. Lay Catholics and pro-life voters must remain vigilant, hold him accountable for what he has promised, and seek further movement in his views. His views on capital punishment and immigration, while less doctrinal, also put him in tension or opposition to the teachings of the Catechism and the growing consensus of Catholic bishops and popes of the past 75 years.

    3. We can expect federal judges at the lower levels to continue advancing the agenda of the left, further cementing the redefinition of marriage, knocking down common-sense limits on abortion, and requiring the funding of abortion, contraceptives in health plans and the like. After eight years of appointments from the current administration, it seems clear that they will continue advancing a moral agenda that is odious to Catholic and Biblical teaching. It also seems likely that they will go on using the force of law to attempt to compel our acquiescence, and compliance in these areas along with newer ones as well such as transgenderism and all its stranger than fiction demands. Not all these cases will even reach the Supreme Court, and even there the record is shaky that these odious laws will be overturned.

    4. Our opponents will continue to decry our religious objections as mere and thinly veiled bigotry and hate, intolerance and all manner of phobias. As such they will try and apply existing hate-crime and civil rights legislation against us. Many federal judges will be happy to oblige their demands for fines, more expansive laws to seek to compel us to violate our conscience. Attempts at further restrictions on religious liberty will surely continue in the local, state and federal courts.

    This list could go on, but these realities depict serious cultural problems that have been brewing for decades, and have reached a kind of boiling point in the last five years. This election will not likely stop the steady march of unbelief, secularism, greed, sexual confusion and promiscuity, and breakdown of families.

    It will help to have the Supreme Court in better hands, but do not be deceived my fellow Catholics that all is now well. Many dark forces are well-entrenched in this culture and we must engage the battle for souls. Do not relax and take your ease. If God has given us an extended chance and kept some options open for us we thought might close — thank you Lord! But all the more reason to use the opportunity he has given.

    Please be Catholic, truly Catholic, authentically Catholic. Manifest your joy in the Lord and confidently proclaim his freeing moral vision, cherishing it more than all the gold in the world.

    Stay at work and prayer my friends!

  6. Hi Fr. Mark. God bless you. I’m not sure I would have the courage to say what you said, but you certainly got it right. The similarities between 1933 Germany and 2016 America are striking and frightening. But now we need to unify as a nation. And we need to pray for the next president. Let’s pray that, like St Thomas Becket, he will have the grace to grow into the job ! Again, God Bless you. Philip Gallagher.

  7. Phillip Gallagher – the last 8 years was a virtual dictatorship. Our President ignored laws as he chose and wrote his own laws by executive order. Many times he was rejected, and even admonished by the courts, but he ignored them as well. He persecuted the Catholic Church. It is Progressive Catholic DemoncRats who twice elected this enemy of the Church and slayer of the unborn. It is the fractured Catholic Church that is enabling our country’s degeneration into secular atheism. I’m no fan of Trump but I have great respect for Fr. Rutler. This term of this next administration is probably our last chance to save the ‘last best hope of mankind’. Instaed of idiotic Jubilees of Mercy our Church should be aiming for a Catholic renewal that rejects Modernism and atheism and abortion.

  8. THANK YOU SHAWN!!! Yes sir. It amazes me how many Catholics support democraps. I thought the fact they support abortion and homosexuality. I thought those two things alone topped any sins the republicans support. But, there are a lot of them apparently. Which makes me fear what will become of the church with people like Phillip and Fr. Mark becoming more prevalent.

  9. I wonder why those you criticize our Pastor White continue to read his blog if he’s as you say? Fr. Mark is a wonderful man, a wonderful parish priest, and our has the guts and fortitude to say what many are afraid to say. If you don’t like what he writes, STOP FOLLOWING HIS BLOG.

  10. Ric Walters,
    I believe it to be a DUTY to follow the blog of this “priest”. Many knew, but none spoke out about “priests” who abused children. I believe this to; at least, be as bad. Here is a “priest” who advocates for those who murder, abort babies, homosexuals, and commit crimes. All of which the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible are against! As long as he supports these things against the church and humanity; I will call him out on it at every opportunity. He is supposed to be an example of Christ and His values. This man is not in my opinion as well as many others. It doesn’t take “guts” as you say, to go along with the popular sentiments of the day. Whatever they may be. It takes more courage to stand for what is morally right, and Christ like than sway like a reed in the wind with popularity.

  11. Shaking my head…………..Father White advocates for NO SUCH THINGS. You simply can’t make up your own narrative to fit your own personal agenda. Thank you, Father Mark, the parish of St. Andrews Catholic Church appreciated and loves you. PS: Instead of some gimmick screen name like bam0271, why not post your real name or is it easier to troll under cover? Peace.

  12. Mr. Walters,
    Apparently Fr. White does advocate SUCH THINGS. He openly has and continues to support illegal immigration. Simply calling them “undocumented aliens”; a democrat devised wording for illegal immigrants. The fact that they are illegal makes them a criminal in the fact they entered this country illegally. Many are criminals in other charges also. Many have records or will have records as murderers, thieves, drug runners, drug dealers, weapons runners, rapists, human traffickers, terrorists, and any other sort of criminal you can imagine. In supporting illegal immigrants; he supports all of these as well. I thank God above we do not have Hillary Clinton as President Elect. Does Fr. White? I think not. He continues to speak badly of P.E. Trump, and he hasn’t even taken office yet. My true name is of no importance to you. Fr. White knows exactly who I am. Who are you to speak for the parish of St. Andrews? You are in no position to represent the entire parish. There are a good number of parishioners who do not like Fr. White and his political stances. Oh, and thank you for the “Peace”. Peace be with you as well sir.

  13. Bam,
    Your inflammatory, tirade, obscene, pontificating words show your mental state: your deep-seated prejudice, which is different from conviction. Because convictions do not manifest in trashing others’ expressions. It’s so cowardly of you to hide behind your pseudonym to trash people without any respect for others’ different opinions. You have not been given permission to dishonor other people’s opinion and dignity. And your political opinion is just that “your mere, small opinion.” You really need to examine your mind and heart.

    You talked about God (the infinitely good God) with your lips, but your heart is full of hatred, pompous arrogance, vanity, and conceitedness, etc., that are completely opposite of our Lord’s teaching during his entire life.

    In Jesus’ words, you must remove your log rather than try to remove a speck in your brother’s eye. You must be pitied of your smallness and ignorance by taking smug satisfaction of distorting the greatest love that man kind has ever learned and experienced. Jesus taught us tirelessly how to love by showing his wisdom, compassion, forgiveness, self-examination, inclusiveness, among other things. Jesus was crucified because of his teaching against people, like you, (know it all and never have humility to examine oneself), and the establishment, who thought that they were better than anybody else – in fact Jesus was outraged at that very kind of attitude.

    This is your opportunity to reflect and expand your mind and heart so that you know Jesus’ extraordinary love is for all of us, transcending political parties, gender, ethnicity, etc.

    Andrew Eliot

  14. Mr. Eliot,
    My sincere apology for whatever I said that you consider ; “Your inflammatory, tirade, obscene, pontificating words show your mental state: your deep-seated prejudice, which is different from conviction.” for I certainly do not understand. Even though I do not, I will apologize for these insults you maintain.
    My opinion; small as it may be according to you. Is just that. My opinion. Just as Fr. Mark has stated his opinion on these pages, and as the others. I value the freedom to express my opinion just as you do. Even if sometimes people take offense to it. However, i will make this offer in respect for you and any others along with Fr. Mark. If Fr. Mark wishes for me to not post anything further here on his blog; I will not. By his invitation only, whether on this blog or privately via email. When he makes that request; you will never see me on here again. As to my screen name; I will not reveal any further, for it is not necessary, needed, nor of any other point in purpose. If it was known, would you come to assault me? Or to say something you would not put in writing? No, I think not. Just because we have differing opinions; I believe it to go no further if we knew each other personally.
    I am not a “cradle Catholic” as some are referred to who were born into the Catholic church. I chose the Catholic faith as I believe it to be the best and true church of Jesus Christ. In RCIA I learned more about the church and have learned still more since. I simply believe very conservatively as is taught through the church and Jesus.Christ. I will reflect in prayer as you suggest, and as I have on many occasions before this post and subsequently. I do not think of myself as better than anyone else. But, since you point out that flaw, I will pray for forgiveness and humility. I will also pray for guidance, but I also pray for the strength to tell a someone when there is a twig and thanks for telling me about the log in mine.

  15. Mr. Eliot,
    I fail to see anything I posted which is; “Your inflammatory, tirade, obscene, pontificating words show your mental state: your deep-seated prejudice, which is different from conviction”. However, I apologize if I have offended you personally. Unless Fr. White no longer desires me to post anything on his blog; I have just as much right to voice my opinion as you do. All Fr. White needs to do is tell me not to post anything further and I will not. He can inform me in this forum, via email, or simply block me from his blog. Until that happens, I will continue with posting my opinion whenever I see fit.
    Jesus also gave us instructions to point out to one another when we have done wrong or may be going down the wrong path. Obviously, that sometimes causes disagreements. Such as here. I do not believe myself to better than anyone else. But, I do believe there are those of us going to heaven one day and those who will go to hell.
    Thank you for the opportunity to reflect, pray, study the Bible, and talk with Jesus. I do these things anyway, but thank you for your courteous extension.
    My blog identity is nothing I hind behind; just common use in today’s computer age. You wish to know me personally for what reason? To assault me? To contact me and say something personally you would not put here? I think not. So, it is of no importance.

  16. Hello again Mr. Walters. I thought you might pop up again. You can call me whatever names you wish; I really don’t care. I have been called far worse. The point remains; you would do nothing more if you knew my identity or would you??? Our priests are a blessing. When they or anyone else strays from the faith I will say so. Just as I expect my brothers in Christ do for me.

  17. ….and I’m sure your life is perfect and without fault. You’re a coward hiding behind your computer. My work here is done. No more comments from me. You’re simply not worthy. God bless Fr. White.

  18. No sir Mr. Walters, I never claimed my life was perfect and without fault. Quite the contrary; as I have stated. We should all strive to be like the only one who is perfect and welcome the opportunity to improve. I am happy you feel your work is done. Thank you for your comments. I strive to learn something from all.

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