Recently, Pope Benedict XIV addressed the council of the Central Committee for German Catholics. With kindness, he began by complimenting Germans on the nation’s many positive qualities. He then spoke of his concern for his home country for what it lacks in the spiritual realm. He invited those present to consider what foreign visitors “might learn about the lifestyle of Germans and the country’s culture if they were to spend a week with an average family.” The pope suggested, “They would find much to admire here, for example the prosperity, the order and the efficiency, but looking on with unprejudiced eyes, they would also see plenty of poverty: poverty in human relations and poverty in the religious sphere.” (Click here to read the entire article.)
Looking proudly at the American Flag every morning with my hand over my heart, I recite the pledge of allegiance with a gymnasium full of little people. What a privilege it is to be able to pray and to recite the full, real pledge (one nation under God) in an assembly. When I really allow myself to think deeply about what I’m saying while I’m gazing at Old Glory, I often become teary eyed.
I do still believe that we live in a great country. A large part of that greatness is the fact that our nation is one that was founded on Christian principles – ideals that our leaders are trying to erase from our history like chalk on a blackboard. When I read about Pope Benedict’s address, everything he said about Germany applies to my home, the United States. Sadly, there are so many Americans walking around devoid of faith – living in a self-centered world of materialism and hopelessness. So many are not aware of God’s great love for them – God’s mercy – the very personal interest He takes in human beings, His beloved creations.
If only they could know the God that I know in my heart, they would be unable to resist His love. They would run into the safety and warmth of His arms instead of rejecting Him – or worse yet – turning away in apathy.
A line from a Sheryl Crow song just came to mind, “I’ve been living in a sea of anarchy. I’ve been living on coffee and nicotine…” Doesn’t this sound like the unhappy, unsatisfying lives of many of our young people..and middle aged? I’ve heard it said that in time of great sin, God’s grace overflows. Rain down Your Holy Spirit to make this land we love receptive to Your grace. Bring on the mighty waterfall, Lord!