Faced with the political and social crises of the present time and the moral challenge they offer to Christians, the problems of liturgy and prayer could easily seem to be of second importance. But the question of the moral standards and spiritual resources that we need if we are to acquit ourselves in this situation cannot be separated from the question of worship. Only if man, as man, stands before the face of God and is answerable to him, can man be secure in his dignity as a human being. Concern for the proper form of worship, therefore, is not peripheral but central to our concern for man himself.
Feast of Faith, 7
Reflection – I should perhaps state as I begin to write this that, in this early morning hour of November 7, I don’t actually know what the final results of the
election were. When I went to bed last night it was all still in
play, and it is not my custom to frantically turn on media upon arising in the
morning. I prefer my first hour or so of the day to be spent in prayer,
reflection, and writing rather than noise and media chatter. US
So I’m writing knowing full well that everyone reading this knows more about the world situation than I currently do, which is kind of funny (so… Jill Stein pulled out a surprise victory? Who knew?). (OK... I'm posting this a bit later in the day, so I know now. Oh well...)
That being said, I chose this passage from Ratzinger on purpose. It is in fact the central issue, beyond any political and social matter. Where are we before God? Where is our worship, our prayer? Are we listening to Him, and are we entrusting our lives to Him as we must? If this central relationship and central concern of life is not in order, then it doesn’t really matter who is president or prime minister or dictator-for-life in our homeland.
I love how Ratzinger links standing before the face of God and being answerable to Him with human dignity. Again, we can get so very embroiled in the immediacy of political issues and controversies—this law, that election, this scandal—and we can put all our ‘human dignity eggs’ into the rather fragile and battered basket of democratic process.
Human dignity on the deeper level flows from communion with God. While we have to strive for the most just society we can attain (which at this precise moment doesn’t seem terribly just, alas), we do need this deeper perspective. My dignity is from God and my life in and with Him. And it is my accountability to God that presses me to treat every human being as a child of God worthy of profound respect and care.
So, this ignorant blogger who doesn’t even know who won the 2012 presidential election is pondering the call we all have, which has absolutely nothing to do with who is or is not in power, with what people in high places are doing or not doing—the call to preach the Gospel with our lives and with our words. And the call to come before God and worship Him in spirit and in truth, so that He can put our lives into proper order, which is the order of charity.