Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Dark Night

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Over the past 24 hours or so, our country has set its course for the coming years. As I am sure you are well aware, the results of Election Day 2008 scarcely could be considered anything short of a near-worst case scenario. Our fellow citizens, and perhaps you, who are reading this now, have helped elect a candidate who threatens the very way of Christian life through his ultra-liberal policies to the highest position in the country, if not the world. Congress and the House of Representatives, the law makers of this country, have become even more liberal with the liberals picking up even more seats. I do not like the term 'Democrats', because today's Democratic leaders are a disgrace to what the Democratic Party once was. Furthermore, the fight for the Right to Life was hampered by failed legislation in South Dakota and Colorado that would have protected thousands of innocent lives. Never before has our country turned its back on God so brashly.

My brothers and sisters, I am writing this evening because of the difficulties of the times to come, but more so because of the hardships many of you are already feeling. Last night was a very stressful, pivotal night, and things did not go well...and I dare say America will pay the consequences of her choices. This has caused a great deal of anxiety, hopelessness, and discouragement among us. We face a great uphill battle now, not only for the unborn and Christian values, but, possibly for our freedoms as well. The coming years will not be easy, and now, more than ever, it is important we heed the words of Ephesians 6:10-20:
1 Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones
and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel
for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.
My brothers and sisters, it is without doubt that we face a time where we will be tested. Verse 12 above in particular stands out. Our battle is not against Obama, the Senate, Congress or any person. Instead, we are faced with a spiritual war. In fact, we have already been attacked.

The feelings I described many of us having above...hopelessness, despair, even depression, are the beginning of the attack. Satan is using these initial attacks to trick us into surrendering before we even realize we are at war. It is important, therefore, that we first focus on fortifying and strengthening ourselves so that we can face, and survive, this time. How can we do that? First, we must remember two important themes found in Scripture and passed on from age to age: First: be not afraid. We have a God who loves us so much, that He gave us His Son to die for us so that evil will never triumph. In essence, our battle has already been won, and victory is guaranteed. There is nothing that can be done by the enemy to change that if we truly accept this. Secondly, have hope. Again, the victory is ours through the cross and through our God, we can do all things...for "nothing is impossible for God" (Luke 1:37). By holding onto that hope and not being afraid, we can and will see these times pass. Even with all that was evil last night, the sanctity of marriage and the family was upheld in California, Florida and Arizona.

The first step in all of this must occur right now. Not in a couple of days, not in a few hours. This very moment. We have all been tempted by the feelings of despair and distress, myself included. We must let Christ lift us up right now and go about life as if nothing has changed. We must continue to find joy in our Savior and the many blessings He has poured out on us. We must continue to reject feelings of depression and continue our fighting. We must continue to build each other up, strengthening our brothers and sisters where they are weak, and allowing them to do the same for us. We must continue to allow God to do miraculous things for us, because He has blessed us in so many more ways than we can even comprehend. We must, absolutley must, NOT succumb to this. It is tempting to say 'yes...that is all great and right...but not now." But, as much as I tempted by that even as I write this, we can not give into this temptation.

In conclusion, my brothers and sisters, we have a God who loves us more than we can being to imagine. He has not abandoned us, and no matter what happens here on Earth, He never will. We must now humble ourselves and allow Him to lift us up and search for His will in our lives. Time may or may not be very short until great trials like we, young and old alike, have not witnessed before. It is important, then, that you prepare yourself now. Read the Bible. Pray as often as you can. Attend your Church services. Repent for your sins, and resolve to actively strengthen those areas where you are weak. For my Catholic brothers and sisters, this means going to Confession frequently. It can be a daunting thing, yes...but the more you go, the more you find it peaceful and the joy after receiving the Eucharist at Mass right after going to Confession...its simply wonderful...but you must open yourself to God and let Him in.

If you think you do not have time for these things, you do and can make the time. That is something I have been learning this semester, which has been extremely busy for me. It is so amazing what 15 minutes or prayer can do....what reading a couple sections of the Bible can do (there are many reading plans that are very easy to follow)...saying a prayer on the way to class or while driving to work....all of these things can help in ways that may be unforeseen at the moment.

So, my sisters...the time is now. Arm yourself and prepare, because like it or not, war is already upon us. Thankfully for us, we have an all powerful Savior fighting with us. The darkest hour is always that right before the dawn.

Be strong. Have hope. And may God bless you always.

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