Teachable Moments: Thoughts on the General Election

“Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, in other words, (a constitutive element) of the Church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.”  From “Justice in the World”

Teachable moments are found in daily life or not at all.  A familiar psalm response says: “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.”  The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are a bountiful deposit of teachable moments.  We learn from spiritual writers that everything that happens to us is a parable where the message is God’s.  The art of life is to “get the message.”  What we hear in these teachable moments provokes a challenge, and offers the promise of an opportunity.  The challenge and opportunity presented in selecting a candidate for office is best undertaken with God’s word in mind.

Network, the Catholic Social Justice Lobby, believes that engaging with our democracy through readings, quotes, reflection and prayer makes us “Spirit-filled voters” on Election Day.  In effect, as we vote we are committing ourselves to proclaim the love of the Gospel and the justice of God’s kingdom in the public sphere.  We are also embracing the responsibility to participate in politics out of concern for, and responsibility for, the good of the community.  In particular, we stand in solidarity with people at the margins of society who experience disparities that could be fixed given the proper support and policies.

People of faith are called to engage fully in the process of choosing elected representatives.  This is one of the best ways to create a more just society.  We vote responsibly not only as a civic duty but as a spiritual one.   It is difficult to find hope in these challenging times in the United States and in much of the world where local, national and international crises demand our attention.  However, we cannot detach ourselves from these struggles.  We participate to promote the common good especially when it is difficult.  And so we pray:

Divine Wisdom, grant that every individual has an equal voice in our upcoming election.  Grant us all the willingness to cast our votes, to make our voices heard, to speak truth to those who seek to silence us.  Let us be governed by people of our own collective choosing, people who will lead our nation uprightly and strengthen our democracy for years to come.

The text of Teachable Moments is excerpted from publicly available resources.  References include: World Synod of Catholic Bishops 1971 “Justice in the World”; United States Catholic Conference Manual –“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” ; Network Catholic Social Justice Lobby Manual – “Mend the Gaps 2020 Policy Platform; Evangelical Lutheran Church of America – “Four Reasons Why Christians Should Care About Politics”; “Unheard Voices” – A Faithful Democracy Toolkit; Quotes from New American Bible; Reflections on the Maxims of the Sisters of St. Joseph by Marcia Allen; Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood