The Scriptures continually remind us about loving God with our whole being by loving our neighbors as ourselves. This is the greatest commandment. However, it is easier said than done. Just as athletes give their all to achieve athletic prowess or musicians and artists spend long hours perfecting their craft, so too do we as Catholic Christians need to give our all to be closer to God.
Like the athlete or musician or artist, we need to practice the art of being Christian each and every day. Some days we do very well; other days not so much. But because we want to achieve perfection, we continue to struggle and work. If the athlete or artist gave up, they would never reach their goal. In the same way, we can never be lazy or lax in our pursuit of reaching eternal life.
An important part of our pursuit of heaven is building up God’s Kingdom here on earth. In our goal of reaching perfection, we cannot neglect the mundane and ordinary. Being a Christian means that we want to cooperate with God’s plan for universal salvation. We believe that we are called to proclaim the Good News to every creature. This means that we must participate in society and help to transform it and make it better. As a Catholic Christian, I cannot bury my head in the sand and pray that things get better. I have to take the risk and work to make a difference in the world around me.
To this end, Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day in our country. There are many candidates and proposals. We are bombarded with advertising on the TV, radio, and computer. Our mailboxes are filled with lots of electioneering materials. Our dinners are interrupted by robo-calls and campaign workers. In other words, we have been overly-saturated with so much “stuff” that perhaps we may feel that it is useless to even go and vote.
I am encouraging you to do three things: First, educate yourselves on the candidates and proposals. Do not only rely on what you hear on TV or what comes to your mailbox. Go to the websites and study the issues. Seek out counsel from trusted sources on what the proposals and candidates stand for. Take time to really understand what you will be voting for and against. Second, pray for the wisdom to make right decisions in the voting booth. Pray for the candidates. Pray to know which proposal is best for our area. In other words, bring God into your deliberation process. Third, VOTE. If you don’t vote, you really have no right to an opinion following the election. When you enter the voting booth, it is just you and God and the machine. No one—not your spouse, not your children, not your parents, not your boss, not your priest—no one has a right to know how you voted. After educating yourself and praying for wisdom, you need to vote your conscience.
Ultimately, at the judgment day each of us will need to give an account of how we loved God by loving our neighbors as ourselves. Part of that accounting will be an analysis of what we did for our community and country. Did we participate in making our community and country a better place in which to live by electing men and women and voting in proposals that helped to bring people closer to God?