Election Day 2016

new-election-day-2016jpgA United States Senator dies and appears at the gates of heaven. Saint Peter greets him.

“Welcome. Before we let you enter, we have a special procedure for all politicians. What we do is have you spend one day in heaven and one day in hell. Then you decide where you want to spend eternity.”

The senator protests, “But there’s really no need for that. I want to be in heaven.”

Saint Peter interrupts him, “I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”

Saint Peter then escorts the senator to an elevator and down, down, down he goes to hell. The doors open and the senator finds himself standing in the middle of a beautiful golf course. In the distance is the clubhouse. He recognizes all of his friends and fellow politicos. They welcome him, pour drinks for him, and they all dine on lobster and tenderloin. The senator and his cronies are having a wonderful time. The Devil himself comes over and introduces himself, welcoming the senator to his domain. What a great guy, the senator says to himself. After a day of golf, good food and reminiscing about the old days, the senator takes the elevator back to heaven.

Saint Peter is waiting for him. He escorts the politician to a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing and singing the praises of God. It is perfectly lovely.

Before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by, and Saint Peter sends for him.

“Well, Senator, you’ve seen both heaven and hell. Where do you wish to spend eternity?”

The politician reflects for a minute, then responds, “Well, heaven is a perfectly wonderful place. I never would have thought it, but I think I would prefer hell.”

“As you wish,” Saint Peter says and escorts the senator to the elevator. Down, down he goes. The doors open – but this time the senator is standing in the midst of a burning desert covered with ashes and garbage. His golf buddies are dressed in rags, picking up trash and stuffing the refuse in endlessly long black bags they drag behind them. It’s insufferably hot and the rancid odor is nauseating. Suddenly he feels the slimy arm of the Devil around his shoulder.

“I don’t understand,” the senator stammers. “When I was here yesterday there was a beautiful golf course and delicious food. All of my friends were happy. We had a wonderful time. Now all that’s here is a burning wasteland, garbage, and misery.”

The Devil looks at the senator, smiles and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted!”

In our own lives, there is often a chasm between what we say we believe and how we live those convictions, between the promises we make and our commitment to work for those promises. Our responsibility both as conscientious citizens and as faithful Christians is to consider our vote thoughtfully, discerning not just our own personal interests but the greater good of our nation as a whole and the dreams and interests of all citizens – especially those who with little or no economic or political influence.

In previous blogs, I’ve provided information, based on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops teaching on Faithful Citizenship, to help you form your conscience in preparation for casting your ballot.

May the Holy Spirit lead us on this Election Day beyond campaign promises and posturing to seek the way of God in this next chapter of our nation’s history.

Be sure to take the time today, after prayer and careful discernment, to vote in the General Election.

 

 

A Prayer Before the Election – Prepared by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

 Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to understand the issues and concerns that confront our city, state and country, and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.

We ask for eyes that are free from blindness so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, one and equal in dignity, especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.

We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned, men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender. We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.

We pray for discernment so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace. We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

November 8th, 2016 |