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Friday, November 2, 2012

Faithful Citizens Will Stand the Test of Fire...

“It will be revealed with fire, and the fire [itself] will test the quality of each one’s work.” (1 Cor 3: 13)

Several months ago, I received an email from an organization I subscribe to with a powerful and extremely well produced video that was meant to both inspire and challenge Catholic voters in the upcoming elections. (See below)

It starts with the image of an iron rod that was just pulled from the fire being pounded into shape by a hammer, and words fade into the picture, stating, “In generations past, the church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. This generation of Catholics must do the same.”

Then, while the moving musical score gets louder, you see an old-fashion blacksmith from behind pounding the iron with a hammer and a raging fire oven next to him; the flames and smoke shooting up as the camera moves in closer.

It is stirring. It is dramatic. And, in all honesty, I felt the hair in my arms stand up (or what MSNBC’s Chris Matthews might call getting a “thrill up my leg”). Then, as the music pulsates more words come up, “This November, Catholics across the nation will be put to the test.”

Using only images, music and writing, the three-minute video called, Test of Fire, goes on to show many of the issues that are affecting our nation; the economy, jobs, taxes, etc., as words being pulled from the flames, but, as a woman walks towards a voting booth, it states that there are issues that for Catholics are non-negotiable; life, marriage and religious freedom.

It ends with chilling statement and a question, “Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire?”

That's a pretty profound statement, which immediately made me think of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which states, “It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens not only have an impact on general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual’s salvation.”

It goes back to the Bible verse from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians that I used at the beginning of this blog.  At the end of our life, our works and decisions will be put to the test and judged accordingly. Which is why, as I once heard someone say, we should vote as if we were facing that final Judgement tomorrow.

In any case, not long after watching the video for the first time, I noticed it on Facebook and received it from other friends via email as well. It was spreading like wildfire, excuse the pun. In fact, the video went viral and has gotten over 2 million hits since being posted on YouTube several months ago. 

For me, as a Catholic, it is pretty simple.  It comes down to three basic questions, which I hope all Catholics ask themselves:  do I truly believe in Jesus Christ?; do I believe, as the Gospels state that Christ built a Church, which He gave the power to bind and lose on earth what would be bound and loosed in heaven and promised the Holy Spirit to guide it to all truth?;  and, am I humble enough to submit myself to that truth, or do I think I know better?...

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