A Letter of Encouragement

I wasn’t going to write anything about the election, I much prefer writing about pumpkin pie and poetry. Last night was rough for half the country, just as 12 years ago was rough for the other half the country. In many ways last night was a disaster for limited government, the rule of law, and Freedom. Ronald Reagan correctly said that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. I even have a T-shirt that says that that I bought from the Romney campaign and a bumper sticker too now…. The point is, I think many, if not most, Americans who value freedom over security (or at least promises thereof, which I will address in a minute.) are frightened that this generation has allowed freedom to go extinct, that this election was the last and only chance of preserving liberty for our children. We look at England where people get in trouble for defending themselves, we think about $16,000,000,000,000 or $1.6 x 10^13 of debt with untold more trillions hidden by accounting gimmicks and know that sooner or later the piper will be paid. While the people who voted for Obama, the most profligate spender in all history, are responsible, all of us will suffer when the country defaults. And we don’t really see any future anymore that does not entail default, bankruptcy, inflation, economic disaster. At the same time the vile, tyrannical Obama administration is actively assaulting religious liberty and freedom of conscience, by forcing those who believe that abortion is murder to fund it. We see the handwriting, and we see that this administration will not stop there, it will try to force pastors and priests to marry homosexuals, and this and that, they are never content. This is how the world looks to us, the world is very dark, and the future appears very grim. ‘The sky grows darker yet, and the sea rises higher.’ And what, you all ask, is the comfort in that? Where is the encouragement? Well, here!

The world is very evil,
The times are waxing late;
Be sober and keep vigil,
The Judge is at the gate;
The Judge that comes in mercy,
The Judge that comes with might,
To terminate the evil,
To diadem the right.

That was written in the 12th century by Bernard of Morlas. Americans are spoiled; we have forgotten that the world is hard, that God does not promise earthly victory, nor earthly reward. God does not promise us easy lives with easy choices. He expects us to make the right choices despite the combined efforts of the World, the Devil, and our own flesh, and while we always fail, we are always expected to keep trying. Does that mean we should give up on trying to revive Idea of America? Not at all! What that means is we have to realize that the fight is not just in the national election. In fact, the real fight, the one that counts, is for the culture. And this is where I point fingers, and lay blame.

Many people will blame Romney, the Hurricane, Christie, Bush…. The real blame lies on the shoulders of Christians who decided to stop influencing the culture. On those who kept mum when the government decided that infanticide should be legal as long as it happened before birth (or even worse, before complete birth). The blame lies on those who, under the guise of picking their battles to win some and lose some, surrendered every battle one by one.

These major battles were lost so very long ago, even my parents’ generation came mostly after the major battles were lost. So here is the encouragement, we have been fighting a losing cause for generations, and we will always be fighting a losing cause. The cultural war is not a blitzkrieg and though we all wanted it to be a Romney blowout last night, Obama won, and the trench warfare for the hearts, minds and souls, for the culture of this country, goes on. We suffered severe losses, but we are not conquered. We are not in any position to pick our battles; we have to fight them all. Each one of us does not have to fight every battle, but if we want to stem the moral dark age, and have the strength to survive the fiscal nightmare that is likely to come, we collectively have to be fighting every battle. We have to fight for limited government in the state houses, in the towns, in the counties. That is where the real battle is. We have to fight in schools, in universities, in the media, in Hollywood. Only when we start winning more of these will the federal government’s problems be fixable. And that is a tall order, but one in which this election is a temporary setback. Our ideological enemies are determined and scrappy; we have to be even more determined and even scrappier. Fight for every little inch of land. For us, surrounded on all sides, there is no such thing as tactical retreat there is only fighting or surrender.

So you have permission to be depressed today, tomorrow, pick up your ideas, your vocations, and as American citizens get back in the trenches. We may be drinking our own urine for water before the end of this, but the war is not lost.

“But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

“Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?”

And as my sister used to say ‘Always remember and never forget’ that heaven on earth, that utopia, that is their ideal, their dream. Since Mankind itself is sinful and broken, we hope not for earthly victory, which is fleeting, but in Salvation, and the end of all things. By that I mean that even if we win this trench war, another will shortly follow, and another and another and another, and yet we struggle on and on because our hope is on Eternity, and our vocation is war. So I go back to writing my manuscript, because despite the fact that Obama is our president until 2016 I still have a PhD to obtain, I have a family to love, and very soon a son to raise. And with all that, working in my vocation, unabashedly believing in limited government and the rule of law, I will work to influence those around me, and the future, it is in the hands of the Lord. We get to vote again in 2014, meantime fight all the fights, and keep in mind that politics, like all earthly things, is fleeting like a flower (or weed) in a field.

(For a more secular pep talk, see Joel B. Pollak over at Breitbart Courage for the Long War Ahead)

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2 responses to “A Letter of Encouragement

  1. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
    “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    Also, the meditation in my missal this morning is beautifully apt and encouraging. It is from a poem by Teresa of Avila.

    In Your hand
    I place my heart,
    Body, life and soul,
    Deep feelings and affections mine,
    Spouse — Redeemer sweet,
    Myself offered now to you,
    What do You want of me?

    Give me death, give me life,
    Health or sickness,
    Honor or shame,
    War or swelling peace,
    Weakness or full strength,
    Yes, to these I say,
    What do You want of me?

    Give me wealth or want,
    Delight or distress,
    Happiness or gloominess,
    Heaven or hell,
    Sweet life, sun unveiled,
    To you I give all.
    What do You want of me?

    Give me, if You will, prayer;
    Or let me know dryness,
    And abundance of devotion,
    Or if not, then barrenness.
    In you alone, Sovereign Majesty,
    I find my peace,
    What do You want of me?

    Give me then wisdom.
    Or for love, ignorance,
    Years of abundance,
    Or hunger and famine.
    Darkness or sunlight,
    Move me here or there:
    What do You want of me?

    If You want me to rest,
    I desire it for love;
    If to labor,
    I will die working:
    Sweet Love say
    Where, how and when.
    What do You want of me?

    Calvary or Tabor give me,
    Desert or fruitful land;
    As Job in suffering
    Or John at Your breast;
    Barren or fruited vine,
    Whatever be Your will:
    What do You want of me?

    Be I Joseph chained
    Or as Egypt’s governor,
    David pained
    Or exalted high,
    Jonas drowned,
    Or Jonas freed:
    What do You want of me?

    Silent or speaking,
    Fruitbearing or barren,
    My wounds shown by the Law,
    Rejoicing in the tender Gospel;
    Sorrowing or exulting,
    You alone live in me:
    What do You want of me?

    Yours I am, for You I was born:
    What do You want of me?

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