No one wants to spend a summer day in the heat and congestion of the city. Saturday, June 22, was very hot, especially in the city. But on that day, like many of you, I witnessed hundreds of Coloradans gather in the center of Denver. They gathered together to pray. They gathered to ask the Lord to protect, to lead and to bless our nation.
A few days later, the United States Supreme Court dealt a crushing blow to family life in our nation. The U.S. v. Windsor decision, released by the Supreme Court on June 26, suggested that our government can find no difference between same-sex relationships and the grace and gift of true marriage – which exists only between a man and a woman.
The decision is frightening, and gravely disappointing.
At the same time, in Texas, anti-life advocates worked furiously this week to prevent laws from passing that would protect the unborn across the state. The hate expressed for those who would protect the unborn was disturbing.
It can be easy to take stock of our nation and be discouraged. To presume that we are destined for destruction. To imagine that God has left us, mired in our own sinfulness.
Brothers and sisters, the Gospel faces unprecedented challenges in our nation. Christians are an ever-shrinking minority. And many Christians are unformed and uneducated – unable to explain or defend even the basic moral tenets of our faith. Furthermore, secular agendas – anti-life, anti-family, anti-truth – are well organized, powerful and determined to undermine truth.
But the Lord has not left us. Our prayers – like those prayers in the heat June 22 – effect real change. They consecrate our nation to the Lord. And whether we see it or not, the Lord is working in our country.
The Lord is working through the sacraments. He is working through grace and the Holy Spirit. And the Lord is working through us. We may never, in our lifetimes, see the fruit of the Lord’s work. But our call is to be tools in the hands of the Master, and to trust that all good things are accomplished in him and through him.
It’s easy to be discouraged. But it is important to be faithful. And it is easiest to be faithful when we remember that we are not destined for this world. We live in this world and we serve the Lord in this world but St. Paul reminds us not to be consumed by this world. He says, of those who persecute us, that “their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their ‘shame.’ Their minds are occupied with earthly things.”
“But,” says St. Paul, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let us continue, dear brothers and sisters, to work for truth and to be faithful to the Lord. But let us remember that we are his servants – he is in control. And let us remember that we are citizens of heaven – that if we are faithful to the Lord and trust his plans, we will spend eternity in our true, lasting and just home.
Reprinted with permission from the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper for the archdiocese of Denver.
The Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila currently serves as the Archbishop of Denver, Colo. with the episcopal motto, “Do whatever he tells you. (Jn 2:5)”