I hate writing during election season. Especially in the month leading up to election day. In the US this last month is always loud. There are so many opinions, so many fears being stoked and more and more voices telling us all that this is the most important election in history.
Every election it seems like all of it gets louder and louder.
This year Pope Francis published an encyclical almost a month to the day before Election Day. It was a much-needed pause for me. I have read through the document once but I like to go through it a few times before giving any thoughts. I took on Pope Pius XII’s writing during World War II, in which I learned that Popes use their office to speak to people about the morality of who we support and why, even if they do not call out names. This might be Pope Francis doing that or it could be my own bias confirmation after only reading it once, which is why I read it several times.
What I can say right now: This is a perfect time for us Catholics to remember who we are and what our place in this world is, and reading through an encyclical is as good a way as any to do some of that work. To stop and look at our lives and see what it is that we are lacking in them to be connected to God. This is the moment to tether ourselves to God and to our Faith, so we do not get swept away in the latest frenzy of the world. That does not mean we do not have a place to care and be concerned and act in the world where there is injustice and suffering, but we should always do those things connected to Christ and not out of our own need to be liked.
Election season is when everyone tells us all the ways in which we should or should not vote. Where our faith becomes a marketing tool for each party to pander to us. Where Bishops and priests forget the fact that they do not have the authority to tell us who to vote for. For me, it is a time when I become cynical and have to keep reminding myself that my hope is in God’s providence and not in anything else.
This year could not have been a worse year for an election. It is the worst year for anything honestly. I think we all need a beach vacation with endless margaritas when this year is over.
I am not shocked at politicians being politicians. What really grieves me is watching fellow Catholics act in ways that drive others away from the Church. I mourn when I see people I love leaving Catholicism for another denomination. I am sad mostly because I do not blame them but also because I know that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith and I cannot imagine a life where I do not know that. Even as I am currently not attending Mass because I do not trust my fellow parishioners to care about those around them. (Wearing a mask has become a political thing in my neck of the woods.) But to leave Him permanently? I cannot do it even if I see all the reasons why someone else could come to that conclusion.
Watching people walk away hurts.
All of it is heavy and it makes me want to take a month off work and not write a single word. I do not feel that I have anything beneficial to add to the noise and even if I do, who will hear it? As much as we all say we are tired of all the division and ugliness we all contribute to it in some way. Once election day comes then it begins all over again. God have mercy on us.
Leticia Ochoa Adams writes from Texas, on life, death, grief, suicide, faith, motherhood, doubts and whatever (else) happens to be on her mind.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.