Monday, November 7, 2016

Uniting as One Nation Under God

Dear Friends,
This is a week of coming face to face with life-altering choices for Americans: choosing leaders and recalling how many Americans choose to be sent into harm’s way for the sake of the common good.
I speak, of course of Election Day (Tuesday), and Veterans’ Day (Friday).
It’s well-known that we have been in a cycle of paralysis, which thwarts our desire to be all we can be as a people – our desire that everyone benefit from life in these United States. 
As we prepare to choose, political candidates at every level have tried to convince us of their positions. Are there other voices to listen to? I know one in particular that we heard speaking to a joint session of Congress last year: Pope Francis. Here are some excerpts from his speech on September 24, 2015, to mull over as we attempt to hear God’s voice in concert with our choices as we prepare to vote. I invite us to read over these thoughts (even out loud), pray over them and carry them in our minds and hearts to our polling places as a reminder of the good we have been as a nation and the good we are called to.
                “Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this, you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you…you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face…
                All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by the disturbing social and political situation of our world today…We know that to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you as a people reject…
                I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of ‘dreams.’ Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people…
                A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to dream of full rights for all their sisters and brothers, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton….
                {Here is} some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream. “
This week, I wish you the courage to vote with an openness to all our brothers and sisters who join together in a mutual desire for life in abundance. May you honor all who have served our nation’s vision of a world at peace. May the end of the week find us more deeply united as one nation under God.
~ Sister Joan Sobala