Regardless of the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election, there is no cause for despair. In the end, no matter who wins the presidency or the senate, we remain a Resurrection people whose hope is not in this world. Given the state of politics within our society, becoming a false idol in far too many circles, it is necessary to point out that no election should lead us to abandon hope. Christ is still the King of the Universe and all that happens is within His permissive will. He is constantly bringing about a greater good than we can imagine, even when all we see is defeat.
What makes our moment in history arduous is our failure to see the relation between things, so bent have we been on their disruption and destruction. But God never really abandons a world, though the world abandons Him. He can take those very elements of nature which turned against Him, and make them the instruments of redemption.— Venerable Fulton Sheen, Simple Truths: Thinking Life Through, 45
We see defeat because we forget to raise our eyes to heaven and to trust in the guiding hand of the Most Holy Trinity. Political life has taken on a role in our lives that it was never meant to. We are called to engage in politics and pursue the common good, but it is not meant to consume so much of our time, energy, or concern. We cannot bring about true change in the world primarily through political means. To think so is to misunderstand our calling as Christian disciples.
Our primary means of transforming the world is through the call to holiness within our families and communities. The saints show us the power of God working through obscurity and grassroots movements because that’s primarily how He operates. We are meant to fully live the mission given to us by God where we are right now. We must be salt and light in a dark world, but we can’t do that if we never accept this mission. This is how we primarily live the Catholic principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. We are meant to transform the community around us, which then reverberates out into the world.
Our true home is heaven
The pursuit of holiness is grounded in the truth that we do not ultimately belong to this world even as we are in it. Our true home is heaven. This life is the means by which we prepare for the glories Christ promised us. We are called to live this reality each day. Doing so means that we are not easily moved by the inevitable defeats and losses we will suffer in this life. If we keep our eyes fixed on the things of heaven, then we will not fall into despair even in the face of great darkness and persecution.
Our citizenship is in Heaven. We are here in an order to which we outwardly belong, but in the depths of our being we belong to another order altogether. The essential of Christian life, therefore, is to look forward to the city of Heaven, for here we have no continuing city, but live among the transient, temporal things. This was the meaning of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, a reminder that we are pilgrims and we live here to complete our existence.Ibid 39
Regardless of who wins the presidential election, our mission remains the same as it was before Election Day. We are called to be people of deep prayer, sacrifice, and self-emptying love.
We are meant to live our lives in cooperation with the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and charity, which the Holy Spirit pours into us in the measure we open ourselves up to God.
We have failed in our evangelical mission
This pandemic has been a clarifying moment. It has revealed the deep decay and rot within our culture. We live in a nation that has largely caved in on itself. This also serves as an indictment of us within the Church. We have failed to evangelize our culture. Instead, far too often, we are the ones casting stones leading to greater division. We have not been peacemakers in the rancorous and vitriolic political climate dividing our nation, especially in social media.
Now is the time for us to seek to move towards our opponents in love rather than to be the cause of greater division and violence.
We are meant to lead people to Christ. That is our baptismal call. We are sent after every Mass to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations. We cannot live this calling if our political ideology is our primary concern. Regardless of the results, it is clear that we as the Church must start taking our evangelical mission seriously.
Prayer is the starting place
This begins in prayer. It does not begin in activism or social media. It begins in the silence of prayer, which is the only place we can clearly begin to hear God. He will tell each one of us how we can bring souls to Him and transform the natural order as far as that is possible in its Fallen state.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Activism does not make theologians. Many are not sure of God because they are never quiet. The failure of the churches today is due in part to their being exteriorized. From time to time, they should ask for a hush to life to lose the voices of the world. The voice of God is heard only in quiet.Ibid 53
If we never step away from the busyness and noise of the world then we cannot enter into intimacy with God. We cannot find the reason for our hope and the peace of soul that is needed in such uncertain and turbulent times. If we have no peace within us, then we cannot possibly give it to our culture. We won’t even be able to bring peace to our own families because we will be burdened by the worries and anxieties of this life.
Christ tells us not to fear, but we cannot trust in Him if we do not know and love Him intimately through a life of prayer and the Sacraments. Through such a life, we will be equipped to go out into our broken world and be conduits of Divine Love. This is the starting place for holiness. The best answer to whoever wins the presidential election is to take the time to shut off all media, close the door to our room, and turn to Christ in prayer. Only then will we know how we can best serve Him in the days ahead.