Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: November 5, 2018


One of Francis’s other biographers, Friar Thomas of Celano, tells us that Francis “did not consider that he had already attained his goal, but tireless in pursuit of holy newness, he constantly hoped to begin again.” This is why I am voting tomorrow: I am in hope of newness and I pray we can begin again to be a better nation.

To cast a vote may not seem like a religious pursuit, but when you consider that actual lives are at stake, and the policies that will determine who lives and who dies, or the edicts that could come from various government agencies, actors, or courts that will impact real lives, and the decisions that will be made with ‘heart before cost’ or ‘cost ahead of life’, or the structures, laws, mandates, and executive orders that will impact who can breathe free and who might die in a dessert – or at the base of a wall – in their attempt for a better life, it is above all else a duty and a prayers that someone else might have a better life.

To vote, to cast your voice, is a privilege not to be taken for granted. Those of us who reap the benefits of living in a democracy should play a part in upholding democracy. Not voting is a form of voting, as it will influence the outcome. We need to take responsibility for our actions, as well as our lack of actions. As Catholics, we hold to the words of the Confiteor at the start of every Mass wherein we recognize our own brokenness:

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints,

and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

And there it is, the power of action or inaction wherein both can be sin, “in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do…”

I think that St. Francis knew of the excitement that comes with beginning a new project, and also of the need to reform structures which no longer meet our needs. So, tomorrow, on November 6th, ironically within the walls of a local Episcopal Church, I will take his lead and I will vote my conscious after deep prayer and reflection. However, I will not be alone in that voting booth, for I will take with me all those rejected based on nothing but discrimination and hatred; those who were never allowed to vote, those killed or maimed as they tried, those bloodied and beaten for even thinking themselves whole enough – or worthy enough – to pull a lever of such power. They will hold my hand as I pull and pray and cry over each decision.

Tomorrow, I will pray for a better nation, a more compassionate people, and grace to fill our lives once again.
How will you voice be heard?  How will your will coincide with the voice of God?  Will you bring compassion to the world, or simply use your power to uproot the love and grace of God to the last among us?

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