"The Only Thing That Matters...."
A friend of mine quipped recently that the real religion of Americans has nothing to do with churches or synagogues. Our “real” religion is politics and the juggling for power it involves. He was being humorous. But as I write these words in late October, and we head into the final days of another, uniquely important, presidential election, his words don’t seem quite so funny.
In the heat of ugly political conflicts, we can easily lose sight of our real vocation as Christians: holiness. We’re called to be in the world but not of the world. Powers and nations – including our own – sooner or later pass away. God’s word does not pass away. Neither does the witness of the holy men and women we call saints, and whose memory we celebrate on All Saints Day and throughout the month of November.
Politics is important. But in the end, all of the passion, all of the egos and even all of the issues in this election will fade. In the end, as the great French Catholic writer Leon Bloy once said, the only thing that matters is to be a saint....
Philadelphia [might be] the diocese of American saints. But we can’t ever be content with sainthood as part of our past. God made to be saints. That means you and me. The hunger for holiness needs to animate every moment of our lives – today, right now, and into the future....for anyone seeking a more Tuesday-geared catechesis, meanwhile, it seems worth revisiting the afore-quoted's homily to close the national Fortnight for Freedom, given in the capital on the 4th of July: