November 17, 2013

November 17, 2013 Column Father De Celles

“Baby Mary”: Our Sofi. It’s hard to believe that 3 years have passed since November 14, 2010, the day the Lord miraculously delivered a newborn baby to the care of our parish. We first called her “Baby Mary Madeleine,” but we have since come to know her by the name her new parents gave her: “Anna Sofia Rae,” or “Sofi”. To refresh your memories, and for those who were not with us then, I quote from what I wrote 3 years ago:

Last Sunday morning, right before the 7am Mass, a parishioner noticed a small gym bag that was laying unattended by the light post near the Groveland Drive entrance to the parish parking lot. After dropping his family off at the front of the church, something told him (perhaps a guardian angel?) to investigate. Much to his surprise when he opened the bag he found a tiny new born baby. He immediately picked up the baby and raced into the church to get her out of the cold fall air and to call for help. Soon paramedics and police arrived and the baby was rushed to the hospital, where she was reported later to be in fine health.

Within a few days little Sofi was given over to the care of a very fine and loving couple, who were eventually able to legally adopt her. But every year since that wonderful morning Sofi has returned “home” to St. Raymond’s on or near her birthday, as she did this last week. I am happy to report that she is a lovely, vivacious and healthy 3 year old little girl.

Sofi will always be a special part of St. Raymond’s—a special unique gift of God’s love to us, and a reminder to us of the love of God made manifest in the life of every baby, born and unborn. Because of this, she will always be, in a certain way, our special responsibility: the Lord entrusted her to our care that day, so we must always keep her in our hearts and prayers in a special way. We should also keep her family in our prayers as well, as they love and nurture her, continuing to show us all an example of openness to God’s will and to sharing His generous love. And we must always keep Sofi’s birth mother in our prayers. Though her identity is still unknown to us, the Lord Jesus knows her well; may He bless and keep her in His loving care all her life; for in what must have been a terribly tortuous time for her she defended her baby’s life, giving her birth and entrusting her to St. Raymond’s care.

Finally, we must recommit ourselves to defending, welcoming, and nurturing the life of all tiny babies, born and unborn. For the Lord has clearly given this to our parish as our special responsibility.

May the Lord Jesus bless our dear little “Sofi,” may His Mother keep her in her care, may St. Raymond be her friend and patron, and may the Holy Angels protect her from all harm.

The Election. Many of you have been sharing with me your disappointment and discouragement at the results of the November 5 election. I too am disappointed, especially in the governor’s race: a strongly pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-religious-liberty candidate was defeated by his almost exact opposite (in these regards). This cannot bode well for Virginia, or the nation. Moreover, a good and faithful Catholic was defeated largely because his enemies attacked and distorted his embrace of traditional Catholic/Christian values, so that his defeat raises the question of whether practicing faithful Catholics are in danger of effectively losing the right to hold statewide office.

I am disappointed, to say the least. But I refuse to be discouraged.

Discouragement is not a grace, or a virtue; it’s not even a reasonable response. While in some way it may be a “natural” reaction on an emotional level, we cannot let this emotion ever take charge of us. Because discouragement comes not from God but either from the weakness of our own fallen nature, or from the “father of lies,” the devil himself. Remember that while men may chose badly, even sinfully, the Lord works in mysterious ways and is never defeated, He is always, ultimately, in charge. Our sinfulness clouds our understanding of this, as do the lies the evil one whispers in our ears.

And remember, this is not about winning or losing. And it’s certainly not about being Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, political or non-political. It is about being Christians who stand for fundamental truths, principles and rights given to us by God for the wellbeing of all.

So, lift up your heads and, after a suitable period of mourning and recuperation, prepare to reengage in the struggle for the hearts and minds and welfare of our society. And take to heart the words of St. Paul the Ephesians (6:14-18):

[B]e strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

Finally, let us pray for those good pro-life/marriage/liberty men and women who were defeated in the election, that they may not be discouraged, but rather rejoin us, and even lead us, in the battle. And let us pray for our new governor and all the newly elected. That in the light of truth and by the grace of Christ, they may turn their hearts and minds to the Lord and His will, so that they may, when all is said and done, serve well our Commonwealth.

Oremus pro invicem, et pro Sofiae, et pro Virginiae. Fr. De Celles