Politicians: They Know Not What They Do

In my last article I discussed how the state of American political discourse has descended into a war of bill branding and news soundbites rather than discussion on Constitutional principles.  Specifically, I noted that large negative response many liberal politicians had on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.  Now it’s time to separate RosaryMeds from your run of the mill “this is what’s wrong with the world” blog.  While others report and complain about politics, I’m going to offer a solution — a prayer.  Specifically, let’s look at a mystery of the rosary for guidance in these worrisome times.

English: A cropped version of Antonio Ciseri's...

When I read about just how zealously many politicians elevate the role of abortion in our society I think of the Third Sorrowful Mystery — The Crowning of Thorns.  I think about how the Roman soldiers mocked Jesus in such a cavalier and dismissive manner.  Although they weren’t Jews, they must have known about the countless miracles Jesus performed which should have ringed warning bells that this wasn’t some mere criminal they were scourging and mocking.  The soldiers, Pontius Pilate, the Jewish leaders, and everyone else involved in crucifying Jesus must have had some inclination that they were playing with fire by so brashly mocking the Son of God.

When I think of the Patty Murrays, Nancy Pelosis, and Harry Reids of our government, I wonder how many of them deep down in their consciences know that they promoting a great evil by backing the pro-abortion lobbies.  Like the Roman soldiers that mocked Jesus, do they have some inclination of the seriousness of their actions?  If their promotion of abortion isn’t born out of pure ignorance, do they know they are playing with fire by acting contrary to their faiths and natural law?  Like the soldiers who got caught up in the moment of mocking Jesus, are some politicians so caught up in scoring political points with their base and lobbyists that they never stop and consider the ramifications of what they are doing?

When you pray the rosary, especially the Third Sorrowful Mystery, pray for those who so brazenly mock Jesus’ teachings for worldly gain.  Pray for their conversion and an awakening to the damage their behavior creates both to themselves and others.  Pray that you personally always remember Jesus’ teachings and not get caught up in behavior that runs counter to it.  It can be so easy to casually mock Jesus through seemingly little sins.  But those little sins can really add up and over time derail you from the path God sets before you.  Be aware of your behavior and find the courage to ask for forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever you act contrary to your faith.

Our Prayer

Forgive those Lord who misrepresent Your teachings and hide Your truth in darkness.  We pray for their conversion much like how You touched the heart and mind of your servant, St. Paul on the road to Damascus.  May those who harm so many in their blindness of earthly ambition end up saving 100 times as many souls in their conversion.  We also pray that we may never take Your truth for granted and casually ignore it.  Holy Spirit and our Mother Mary, please give us the strength to honor our Lord Jesus Christ with a crown of good works, love, and charity and avoid crowning Him with the thorns of sin.

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Seeing Lazarus in Your Life

The Gospel for 9/26/2010 was Luke 16:19-31 which was the story of the rich man and Lazarus. In short, a rich man goes to Hell because he was uncharitable to Lazarus, a poor man. I always squirm before the homily when I hear this Gospel during Mass because many times people will use it to jump into a tirade about how you are an evil person bound for Hell if you have any money. Some will use it as justification on why we need higher taxes or some sort of forced redistribution of wealth. I believe such analysis of this parable misses the point Jesus was trying to make. The rich man did not go to Hell because he was rich. He went to Hell because he was uncharitable with his wealth, neglected those who needed his help, and hence was not showing his love for God.

Print by Gustave Doré illustrating the parable...
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The Gospel for 9/26/2010 was Luke 16:19-31 — the story of the rich man and Lazarus.  In short, a rich man goes to Hell because he was uncharitable to Lazarus, a poor man.  I always squirm before the homily when I hear this Gospel during Mass because many times people will use it to jump into a tirade about how you are an evil person bound for Hell if you have any money.  Some will use it as justification on why we need higher taxes or some sort of forced redistribution of wealth.  I believe such analysis of this parable misses the point Jesus was trying to make.  The rich man did not go to Hell because he was rich.  He went to Hell because he was uncharitable with his wealth, neglected those who needed his help, and hence was not showing his love for God.

This parable reminds me of The Third Sorrowful Mystery of the holy rosary where the Roman soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus and mocked Him.  The crowning of thorns represents how we often show our faith.  Through our actions, instead of offering Jesus a majestic crown made from our love for Him we present a pitiful one made from our indifference.  When do we show this indifference, apathy, and even hatred towards Jesus?  When do we crown Him with “thorns?”  Surely we would treat Him with the utmost honor and respect if we saw Him, correct?  Look no further than Matthew 25:41-45:

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs? He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.

By ignoring Lazarus, the rich man ignored Jesus.  If charity shows love for Jesus, then acting uncharitable shows contempt.  Through his actions, the rich man was not putting Jesus first in his life.  The rich man is the antithesis of the Good Samaritan.  While the Good Samaritan lived a life of constant prayer and could spot those in need and readily help them, the rich man was blind to the needs of others.  And that is the heart of Jesus’ parable.  It’s not that money is inherently bad and those who have some and live comfortably should feel ashamed.  It’s that wealth has the capacity to blind you to the needs of others and can prevent you from offering Jesus the true respect, honor, and love He deserves.  That is, money will blind you if you let it.

On the flip side, having some level of wealth provides great opportunities to help others in need and hence really show love for Jesus.  Look around and see some of the great institutions and services funded through charitable donations.  Whether it is a food drive, soup kitchen, or a new hospital, these opportunities to help the less fortunate come from people who use their wealth for good.  Without getting too political, how could these people act so charitably if they did not accumulate anything and could only look after their basic needs?  I want to end with a trailer from the movie, “The Blind Side.”  Besides it being a good movie I think the story paints a good picture on how having a certain level of resources at your disposal enables people to do great things for those less fortunate.

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Rosary Meditation — The Third Sorrowful Mystery

This rosary meditation focuses on the Third Sorrowful Mystery — The Crowning of Thorns. The Roman soldiers mocked Jesus by dressing Him in royal purple and crowning Him with thorns (Mk. 15:17). They then mocked Him and pretended to pay Him homage (Mk. 15:19). Would the soldiers have acted so cavalier and arrogant if they truly understood who it was they were mocking? While we are not as brazen as those soldiers, we often mock Jesus by giving lip service to our faith. Instead of faithfully following Jesus, we too often dishonor Him by putting the fleeting treasures of this life in front of the treasures waiting for us in Heaven. Particularly in this time of Lent we must make a sincere effort to put Jesus first in our lives and honor Him the way He deserves.

This rosary meditation focuses on the Third Sorrowful Mystery — The Crowning of Thorns.  The Roman soldiers mocked Jesus by dressing Him in royal purple and crowning Him with thorns (Mk. 15:17).  They then mocked Him and pretended to pay Him homage (Mk. 15:19).  Would the soldiers have acted so cavalier and arrogant if they truly understood who it was they were mocking?  While we are not as brazen as those soldiers, we often mock Jesus by giving lip service to our faith.  Instead of faithfully following Jesus, we too often dishonor Him by putting the fleeting treasures of this life in front of the treasures waiting for us in Heaven.  Particularly in this time of Lent we must make a sincere effort to put Jesus first in our lives and honor Him the way He deserves.

We are often very much like the Roman soldiers who pretended to pay Jesus homage.  Sure, we may say that we are good Christians.  We might recite prayers every night and go to Mass every Sunday.  But do we truly believe that Jesus Christ is our king and savior?  Will we follow Him even when times are difficult and our faith runs contrary to society’s norms?  Or is our faith something done in isolation and detached from our “normal” lives?  For example, how many of your beliefs conflict with the Church’s teachings?  Or, when faced with a difficult situation, how often do you tell a “little white lie” or commit some other easy sin to serve your own ends?  Do you go to Confession without intending to truly turn away from your sins and live with a converted heart?  There are so many ways where we pretend to follow Jesus but our actions tell a different story.  And while our transgressions may seem small and inconsequential, they are like the little thorns on the crown we offer to Jesus.  When meditating upon this mystery think about how sincerely you praise and honor Jesus.  Do you practice and live the faith you profess or are you like the Roman soldiers who only pretended to honor Jesus?

For whose kingdom are you living?  We too often live for this worldly kingdom and not for Jesus’ kingdom of Heaven.  There are so many things that compete for our attention — money, power, possessions, and lust just to name a few.  But we must remember this verse from the Gospel of Matthew (6:24):

No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.

But how we try. However, as the verse says, by trying to serve two masters we often end up serving only one.  Since money and possessions are physical, quantifiable things it is often easier to live for them than it is to live for our treasures in Heaven.  After all, we only have it on faith that the riches of Heaven will far outweigh anything made in this world.  But since our eternal reward isn’t something advertised during the Super Bowl by a fancy advertising agency, we too often kick it aside for the things that we can see, hear, and touch.

Ask yourself in this time of Lent, what master are you serving?  What type of crown do you offer Jesus Christ?

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