Sermons, hymns, meditations and other musings to guide our annual pilgrim's progress through the liturgical year.

Sunday, November 6, 2022



It’s that time of year again.  We’ve celebrated Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Day this past week, now the clocks have been returned to real time and we can start getting down to that somewhat dismal time when we focus on the end of the year, the end of our lives, and the end of the world.  Not the happiest of times.  Before we settle down completely to these thoughts, however, we have some business to take care of.  It’s called the Midterm Election.

On Tuesday of this week, the Constitution of the United States decrees that elections shall be held in which We the People have our annual opportunity to think we might possibly have some slight control over the political ruling class.  It’s called “voting” and we need to spend a little time thinking about the kind of people we should vote for.  Whether or not our voting really counts in the big scheme of things (which we’re all aware is actually manipulated by the mysterious but ever-present Deep State), nevertheless it’s our annual tip of the hat to the things that are Caesar’s, and it’s our civic duty to do what we can to make our positions heard.

The question of who to vote for relies on a few quite simple principles, and usually our common sense should point us in the right direction.  I have complete confidence that everyone in this room has that kind of common sense.  After all, it’s brought us here to Mass this morning instead of to the monkey show at the local Novus Ordo church.  I would therefore assume that we must all have enough common sense to know that it’s morally wrong to vote for any politician who enthusiastically promotes an agenda that goes against the laws of God.  We must not, for example, vote for a politician who supports abortion or for any of those lunatic gender-based programs that pervert the laws of nature.  That unfortunately means that you would have a very hard time finding a Democrat to vote for.  But you have common sense, so you know that already.

So who can we vote for?  If we look carefully, we’ll find the partial answer to that question hidden in today’s Epistle to the Philippians.  “For this I pray,” says St. Paul, “that ye may approve the things that are excellent.”  Reading between the lines, we can conclude that he therefore does not want us to approve the things that are the opposite of excellent, the things that are evil.  Of course, there was no democratic system in place in the days of St. Paul, but if he were here today, he would certainly be exhorting us not to approve of evil by voting for any politician who promotes an evil agenda.  We should vote for the politicians who are “excellent”, so if you can find any, by all means, vote for them.

Of course, excellence is an ideal which I fear very few politicians attain, so unless we come across a sudden abundance of excellent politicians hiding under a bush, we’ll probably have to make a few concessions and compromises.  Bear in mind that Republican politicians are no less immune from falling into temptation than the rest of us, so we shouldn’t place our expectations too high on that party either.  But there are a good number who accept the basic laws of God, and we will have to tolerate a few differences of opinion here and there, especially in those matters which do not involve morality or offend God.

We’re in Ohio, so I’ll give you the example of J.D. Vance as a politician who may not be excellent, but for whom I believe you may vote in good conscience.  His political views on abortion are that he is pro-life, but illogically supports the “right” to an abortion in cases of rape and incest.  Our common sense should come into play here, to remind us that if it’s against the Fifth Commandment to murder an innocent human being, the fact that that human being is a product of rape or incest has no bearing on the morality of murdering them.  Their father may not have been innocent, but the child in the womb is always innocent.  No external circumstance can turn that child into anything other than innocent.  It is not an unborn baby’s fault that one or both of their parents were immoral, and so there is absolutely no argument for claiming that he is an aggressor and that we therefore have the right to defend ourselves against him.

But if J.D. Vance supports the right to kill this baby, does this make him so far beneath the ideal of excellence that we should not vote for him.  It’s certainly a point to consider, and if he were running against a candidate who thought a bit more logically about this issue, then we should probably vote for this other one instead.  But in the case that faces us on Tuesday, we are forced to choose between either voting for either a Democrat candidate who is of course completely pro-abortion, or a candidate who is partially pro-life and partially pro-abortion (Mr. Vance), or voting for nobody at all.  Again, common sense tells us that there is a proportionate cause for voting for the candidate who is the lesser of two evils.  Not an “excellent” candidate perhaps, but not totally evil either.  More baby’s lives will be saved by voting Vance than voting Ryan.

We must never commit any evil so that something good may come of it.  But we can tolerate a certain amount of evil.  We can vote for Mr. Vance so long as we’re not doing so because we approve of his mistaken principles.  And in addition, there must be a proportionate cause for voting for him.  In this case there is such a proportionate cause, as the only alternative is to openly support someone who is far worse and could potentially be the cause of far more infant deaths.  Vance might not be “excellent”, but he’s the best we can do this time round, thanks again to our imperfect democratic system.

While democracy may have its downside, it is nonetheless the system we have in this country.  We must use the system against the devilish agenda that inspired it, by promoting the laws of God with our vote for the most excellent candidate.  It’s called making friends with the mammon of iniquity.  Let’s remember as we do it that we must always reserve our full and unambiguous approval for the few that are truly excellent in every respect. 

Let’s use our vote wisely then on Tuesday.  It’s the day when we render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.  But we are permitted to do so only if our vote does not take away from God the things that are God’s.



 By Katharina A. von Schlegel, 1752, translated by Jane L. Borthwick, 1855


Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.

Leave to thy God to order and provide;

In every change, He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.


Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake

To guide the future, as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know

His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.


Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,

And all is darkened in the vale of tears,

Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,

Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.

Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay

From His own fullness all He takes away.


Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on

When we shall be forever with the Lord.

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.


Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise

On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;

Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,

So shall He view thee with a well-pleased eye.

Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine

Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.





At the end of the Canon of the Mass, the priest introduces the Paternoster with these words: “Admonished by salutary precepts, and taught by the divine example, we make bold to say:” And then he begins the Our Father, the most perfect of prayers, given to us by the Saviour himself.  But did we ever wonder about that introduction?  Why do we have to be admonished by God to say the Our Father?  Why do we need to “make bold” in order to say it? 

There’s a very good reason that it requires boldness and courage to say the Our Father, at least if we mean what we say when we say it.  Or do the words “Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven” mean nothing to us?  Are they just sounds we utter into the air, like the barking of a dog or the squealing of a pig?  Are our prayers so inconsequential to us that we can mindlessly pray for something we don’t want?

“Thy will be done.”  When I pray these words, do I realize what I'm asking for?  I am making the supplication to God that things in this life will not necessarily go according to the way I want them to, that I won’t always get what I want.  I am literally begging God not to grant my every wish as though he were some fairytale genie in a bottle.  Instead, I am renouncing my own will, and beseeching God that His will be done instead.  And once we’re aware what God’s will is, it very often takes a lot of courage and boldness to accept it.

We have two very good examples in the First Joyful and First Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  At the Annunciation, our blessed Lady gives up any plans she may have had for her life and abandons herself to divine Providence: “Be it done unto me according to thy will.”  And in the Garden of Gethsemane, the human side of our Saviour anticipates the horrors of the Crucifixion and is so repulsed by what he must endure that he asks, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

In my opinion, these are the two most difficult decades of the Rosary to pray with conviction. They are difficult because they demand the same response from us, no matter what terrible sufferings the future may hold.  Only by following what our Saviour taught us through his divine example, can we indeed summon up the courage and make bold to say “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done!”