So in case y'all haven't noticed, Election Day in the USA will be this coming November 3, two Tuesdays from now. And you know what? It can't be over soon enough. I mean, I'm really glad I live in a democracy, but man, is it toxic!
I don't watch or read or listen to the news. I'm not on social media. I'm aware that it's really ugly out there, but -- well, that's exactly why I don't partake of it. It's too toxic. I'm not an undecided voter, in fact I already voted. I don't need to see and hear all the nastiness. When I am not sure which way to vote, in a primary or on some local issue, I look it up on the internet. Preferably on some non-partisan voter education website that can give me the information on the issues straight up, without all the hype and hysteria.
I'm not going to rant on and on about this, just -- I miss my monks! I watched Mass livestreamed from the monastery this morning, but then I also went to Mass at a local parish so that I could actually receive the Eucharist. At the parish, the sermon was given by a deacon I had not heard from before. *sigh* Poor thing. It was not a good homily. I mean, it wasn't even a well-done bad homily, it was disjointed and rambling. He seemed, at the beginning, to be lamenting the way the media drive conflict and polarization, but then he went on to say a whole long series of such offensive things -- no, I am not going to list them. I'm not going to pass them on. Well, hell, you all have heard all of them already, anyway! You know.
Meanwhile, at the monastery, my very dear Fr. Christopher preached about (go figure!) the gospel reading of the day. Which, by the way, is one of the very best passages in all of Scripture, and why anyone would want to ignore it in favor of rolling around in the pigsty of politics I don't know. It's Matthew 22:34-40, in which Jesus is asked "which commandment in the law is the greatest?", and he answers, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your strength. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." That's what it's all about, and Fr. Christopher worked it.
I miss my monks. I am reminded that there were plenty of parish churches in Italy when St. Benedict was a young man, but he didn't find spiritual sustenance in them. He left town and became first a hermit, then a coenobite (a monk in community). I don't know, there's just a different kind of wisdom -- maybe it's that they are first brothers, and only then, perhaps, sometimes preachers. Diocesan priests are first of all pastors. They are there for the people, people look to them for guidance, which maybe risks engendering a certain arrogance? Whereas monks are all monks together, community life is humbling. Only the abbot has a position above the rest, but unlike a parish pastor he's chosen by his own community, his own brothers who know him, warts, cracks, and all.
For whatever reason ... *sigh* Well, let me stop here and count my blessings. I have not gotten sick. I haven't lost a job. I'm not stuck at home with an abusive husband. I'm not trying to work at home while simultaneously directing my kids' schooling at home. I'm not depressed. I can watch one or another of my monks preach every day, through the miracle of the internet. There are dozens of parishes within easy driving distance of me, most with more than one Mass every Sunday, most with multiple priests and deacons alternating preaching duties -- and while some of those preachers make me want to give up and go convert to Hinduism or Wicca or something, some of them are the best kind of Christian saints. And I do live in a democracy, which may be pretty toxic these days, but you know -- Rachel Maddow hasn't disappeared, Joe Biden hasn't had any mysterious fatal accidents, and if Donald Trump tried to declare a state of emergency and call out the National Guard to avoid having an election when he's down in the polls, the National Guard would say "dude, no." This IS a democracy. And the election is almost over!
I'm sorry, that's as uplifting as I can get tonight. The bell has rung for Compline, and if I don't click "publish" now, it's just going to get more rambling, not any more inspiring. God bless you all, and let's keep the faith.