As you might imagine, gentle reader, the avalanche of news of late has kept me away from blogging as often as I would have liked. It is sometimes difficult to focus on interesting buildings, or discoveries in the art world, or considerations of trends in our culture, when there is so much information and opinion to sift through. Now that the U.S. elections are over, it is time to get back to work.
However before I do so, I want to express my thanks to Governor and Mrs. Romney for all of the hard work they did to try to put this country back on the right track. Of course no Presidential campaign goes it alone. There are many hundreds and thousands of people who did their best, and they deserve many thanks also.
In this particular election, which was not the case for me in the previous one, I am genuinely sorry both for our country and for the Romneys personally that we will not have the chance to have them as President and First Lady. We will not get to experience their devoted service to others, in response to how they themselves have been blessed – a fact which is well-known to those whom they have helped, and which sense of duty they have embraced all of their lives. From the time I first got to know about the Romneys, way back in the previous Presidential primary cycle in 2007, I have been struck by what genuinely good people they are, models of both responsible citizenship and human decency. By now all know how both of them have not only reached out to support those in need, but also to support each other through some very painful times.
Please do not mistake my reading, gentle reader, for I am not suggesting that the Romneys are saints, or some sort of embodiment of human perfection. They are flawed and imperfect as we all are, because they are real people rather than celebrities created out of whole cloth. Yet as models of marital/familial devotion, and of the active practice of the tenets of one’s faith, many of us could well do to take a lesson from them both.
The thought occurred to me this morning, as the impact of the election began to sink in more fully, that the example of St. Peter in the 6th chapter of the Gospel of St. John is particularly instructive in this regard, with respect to how one deals with disappointment, adversity, and loss. This is a section of the Gospels which is often ignored or overlooked by many non-Catholics. It particularly addresses how we Catholics understand the Eucharist, but it also tells us something about how we are to accept things which seem incredibly difficult or impossible for us.
After Christ tells His disciples that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood, they will not have eternal life, many of them began to leave Him. ”This teaching is hard,” Jesus’ audience says, and they cannot accept what He has told them. Jesus then asks the Twelve, those closest to Him, whether they are preparing to leave Him, also. In response to this question St. Peter – in his inimitably Petrine way – makes a profound statement of faith. ”Lord, to whom shall we go? For You alone have the words of eternal life.”
And that is really THE answer, in the end, for there is no other option. Whatever comes, for those of us who practice the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles (including St. Peter, the first Pope), whatever Providence brings or permits, we must hold fast to Him no matter how harshly the winds blow and the seas foam. And they most assuredly will, as our country appears convinced more than ever to embrace the culture of death. Yet to do other than cling to Christ is to tie our colors to something floundering in the rocks, and which in the fullness of time is ultimately doomed to failure.
Whatever life holds next for Governor and Mrs. Romney, the last several years have undoubtedly been a tremendous burden and strain for both them and their family, and yet they have handled it all with grace, with hard work, and with love. I thank them deeply for their service, and I hope that they will continue to work together to do good for their community and their country, as they are able. May God bless them both.