Congratulations aren't generalized approval. They're acknowledgement -- of the winner's achievement, of the respect due the office, and on a basic level of our common humanity. They are how we show our own class in defeat, and how we acknowledge the fact that the other person may be our adversary, but he is not our enemy. Only the devil is that. SDG in the combox of his post at JIMMY AKIN.ORG
I am a Canadian,
free to speak without fear,
free to worship in my own way,
free to stand for what I think right,
free to oppose what I believe wrong,
or free to choose those
who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom
I pledge to uphold
for myself and all mankind. John Diefenbaker, House of Commons Debates (on the Canadian Bill of Rights, July 1, 1960.
The Parliament of Canada, affirming that the Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and
worth of the human person and the position of the family in a society
of free men and free institutions;
Affirming also that men and
institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for
moral and spiritual values and the rule of law;
desirous of enshrining these principles and the human rights and
fundamental freedoms derived from them, in a Bill of Rights which shall
reflect the respect of Parliament for its constitutional authority and
which shall ensure the protection of these rights and freedoms in
Today I went with many friends to pick apples, and we then went back to one family's home to feast on roast turkey and pumpkin pie.
Other people went hungry.
Today we went to Mass, my host and his wife and I. We heard a good homily about how necessary the Eucharist is to being fully alive. We received the Eucharist.
Some people have never heard the gospel at all. Some Christians have never heard about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Some Catholics are risking persecution and death every time they attend Mass.
Today I spoke with my mother, hundreds of miles away, and told her I loved her. The words didn't come out perfectly smoothly, because it's been too long since I last said them, but say them I did.
Some people are cut off from their families by external circumstance or a by legacies of conflict and resentment.
Today my friends and I took contrary positions on the Canadian election tomorrow and the one coming up in the States, before we settled down to more harmonious.
Other people cannot mention politics without wondering who will report them to the secret police.
Today I rested, and tomorrow I will return to my various contracts.
I also spoke with a friend who lost her job a few days ago.
Today I am alive. I have my sight and hearing. A church sign along the country road read, "Can't think of anything to be thankful for? Check your pulse."
An acquaintance died suddenly on Saturday.
It is so easy to complain, and I fall into this so often myself. The Internet has given us limitless access to discouraging and alarming stories upon which we can focus if we so choose.
It is easy too to turn thanksgiving into backhanded complaint, automatically sliding, for example, from gratitude for the freedoms we do enjoy to griping-for-griping's-sake about how our freedoms are under attack. Which they indeed are, but that's not the point. (I'll bet a few readers' minds went straight from "Other people cannot mention politics without wondering who will report them to the secret police" to "Yeah, and how much longer before that happens to us?")
One really can't fix a culture of complaint by complaining about it. One can only give thanks for the trials God has, in his great providential wisdom, allowed us to face with the help of his all-sufficient grace.
St Paul writes in his first letter to the Thessalonians, "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (5:16-18). To the Philippians he writes, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance" (4:4-5)
The other day I visited my friend Grace, who is Baptist, in the nursing home where she's lived for several years. A few months ago she broke her knee, but she smiled so cheerfully as she recounted the saga of her injury and her recovery, incomplete as it is so far, because she trusts so deeply in God's providence. I told the kids in my Confirmation class on Sunday that many Christians are handicapped by not having access to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and yet what inspiring lives ones such as Grace lead!
What do we do with the gifts God has given us? I know I've outright squandered more than a few ... and piddled away some others in spells of lukewarmness. Well, thanks be to God that I can receive absolution for my sins of omission.
Permissiveness with regard to erotic sexuality, cut off from covenant relationships, is the fruit of a culture without hope. The true solution lies, not in condemning this frenetic sexuality, but in the rediscovery of hope. --Jean Vanier, Man and Woman He Made Them
For she, as the coherent and organic mystical Body of Christ, calls upon those who look to her to become, not merely her children, but her very members; not to obey her as soldiers obey a leader or citizens a government, but as the hands and eyes and feet obey a brain.
Once, therefore, I understand this, I understand too how it is that by being lost in her I save myself; that I lose only that which hinders my activity, not that which fosters it. For when is my hand not itself? When separated from the body, by paralysis or amputation? Or when, in vital union with the brain, with every fiber alert and every nerve alive, it obeys in every gesture and receives in every sensations a life infinitely vaster and higher than any which it might, temporarily, enjoy in independence? --Robert Hugh Benson, quoted by Miss Climpson from a Magnificat meditation
I answer that, As stated above (123, 3), fortitude is concerned about fear and daring. Now every moral virtue observes the rational mean in the matter about which it is concerned. Hence it belongs to fortitude that man
should moderate his fear according to reason, namely that he should
fear what he ought, and when he ought, and so forth. Now this mode of
reason may be corrupted either by excess or by deficiency. Wherefore
just as timidity is opposed to fortitude
by excess of fear, in so far as a man fears what he ought not, and as
he ought not, so too fearlessness is opposed thereto by deficiency of
fear, in so far as a man fears not what he ought to fear. --Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica: Fearlessness (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 126).
Every true and lasting reform has ultimately sprung from the sanctity of men who were driven by the love of God and of men. Generous, ready to stand to attention to any call from God, yet confident in themselves because confident in their vocation, they grew to the size of beacons and reformers. On the other hand, any reformatory zeal, which instead of springing from personal purity, flashes out of passion, has produced unrest instead of light, destruction instead of construction, and more than once set up evils worse than those it was out to remedy. No doubt "the Spirit breatheth where he will" (John iii. 8): "of stones He is able to raise men to prepare the way to his designs" (Matt. iii. 9). He chooses the instruments of His will according to His own plans, not those of men. But the Founder of the Church, who breathed her into existence at Pentecost, cannot disown the foundations as He laid them. Whoever is moved by the spirit of God, spontaneously adopts both outwardly and inwardly, the true attitude toward the Church, this sacred fruit from the tree of the cross, this gift from the Spirit of God, bestowed on Pentecost day to an erratic world. --Pius XI, Mit Brennender Sorge (14 March 1937), quoted by Dreadnought in response to Luke Timothy Johnson
It may be possible for each to think
too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible
for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor.
The load or weight or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid on
my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs
of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society
of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most
uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,
if you saw it now, you would be strong tempted to worship, or else a
horror and a corruption such as you know meet, if at all, only in a
All day long we are, in some degree helping each
other to one or other of these destinations. It is in light of these
overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection
proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one
another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary
people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures,
arts, civilizations-these are mortal and their life is to our as the
life of a gnat. But it [is] immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry,
snub, and exploit-immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.