When Daniel, trying to be both a faithful Jew and a faithful citizen, refused to eat the foods and wines of the King that his faith thought unclean, he begged the chief chamberlain to let him and his companions live on vegetables and water. At first the chamberlain refused but after Daniel asked him just to see how he and his fellow Jews would do with this very modest diet, the chamberlain agreed and was soon surprised at how healthy these men were.
It should be clear to all of us that we can be faithful Catholics and faithful citizens of the United States, but it is not always easy. Discerning what we ought to accept and support in our country is a serious responsibility that we cannot take lightly. That our country interprets its Constitution in such a way that offends our religious practice is something we must all accept but, at the same time, challenge. Life issues, including not only the protection of human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, but abject poverty for some and exorbitant wealth for others need to be a part of our Catholic agenda, especially for those called to public service. To do this we need to examine our spiritual practices.
Do we have a daily regimen of quiet prayer? Do we occasionally fast in order to be more grateful for our food and in solidarity with the hungry? Are we conscious of sharing our time, talent and treasure with others? All of these practices can be helpful for the Gospel journey we are all called to take, but there is another practice that the church holds up before all others. The regular participation in the Eucharist is considered the source and summit of Catholic life and we should not excuse ourselves lightly. Getting together with other Catholics for reflection and worship that challenges us to service is a powerful form of prayer that helps in all our discernments.
Today, pray to love our country and our church.
What about our country's policies most challenge you to live the Gospel more deeply?