WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Gratitude for Government?
are required by moral conscience to obey all legitimate authority inasmuch as it aids to bring about the common good, the other side of obedience is equally challenging.
We are bound in conscience to disobey authority or laws which are directly opposed to the natural law.
"A human law has the character of law to the extent that it accords with right reason, and thus derives from the eternal law. Insofar as it falls short of right reason it is said to be an unjust law, and thus has not so much the nature of law as of a kind of violence." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1902, St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae I-II 93)
St Thomas goes on to say that if a human law is opposed to the natural law, we are bound in conscience to do everything in our power to oppose it. In this situation, the way a person honors their government is disobeying its morally illegitimate laws and doing everything possible to overturn them. The most clear example of this is the priority we must have to do everything in our power to criminalize abortion again by making it illegal, and oppose with every ounce of our strength the HHS mandate.
Although we find ourselves in a very unpleasant situation, gratitude helps us accept with a serene heart the way things are, and it also helps us find the good amidst an evil situation. It balances us, corrects, enlightens, and guides us to see that God is still God, and that he hasn't abandoned us despite the wickedness we perceive.
Gratitude heals us of the leprosy of a decaying and decrepit attitude. It gives us newness of skin, a fresh way of thinking and authentic Christian JOY - joy which is never based on how much we like the way things are going but on the fact that God will continue to be God and pour out his goodness despite difficulties we must endure. Gratitude gives us the renewed energy to oppose things which are evil and in need of reform.
The source, summit, and center of all Christian gratitude is the Most Holy Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1328), "Eucharist.is an act of thanksgiving to God."
Eucharistein is greek for thanksgiving. Jesus' heart is primarily one of thanksgiving. Since the eternal personality of God the Son is one of gratitude, of proceeding from the Father and having received his very Being from the Father, we can be sure that the fundamental disposition of His whole life was thanksgiving. This is true even of the Cross. Many like to think of the Redeemer's suffering and expiation for the sin of man on the Cross, however, since Jesus is God almighty, everything He did was primarily a divine act carried out through a human nature, and therefore we can be sure that His fundamental disposition, even on the Cross, is gratitude.
May the holy Mother of God, whose grateful and Immaculate Heart was pierced with the Heart of Christ at Calvary, help us to understand the true depths of Christian gratitude, that we may begin to live the Gospel with mature faith.
Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and is currently based in Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom. He is a speaks to groups around the world on Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Visit his homily blog http://medleyminute.blogspot.com or his blog on sexual ethics http://loveandresponsibility.org
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Faith, Year of Faith, Gratitude, Government, Jesus, Eucharist
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