Recently, there was an insightful paragraph in the daily Magnificat which summed up well the reality which our nation is experiencing at this time:
"History attests that when those in power concentrate on their own survival out of personal ambition, turning away from the common good, it is the time of decline. Marginalizing Christianity from the public sphere is a sign, not of intelligence, but of fear. It is failing to see, through the dark clouds of prejudice, that society cannot help but benefit from Christianity. Yes, society can benefit from Christianity.... The more one seriously studies the origins of humanism, and the more he recognizes the existence of something that is not only spiritual, but distinctly Christian."
That was written by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the Archbishop of Genoa, and while he was focusing on the issues plaguing Europe, his insights speak loudly to our own reality here in our country.
The loss of a sense of the common good, and an exaggerated focus on me--individualism--runs totally counter to the message and witness of Jesus in the Gospels. The two great pillars which Jesus taught us remain crucial to discovering a new path forward in our nation: God's love for us must be lived out through compassion for one another, and God's mercy for us must be lived out through generous forgiveness among all of us.
Those strong pillars are taught through the person of Jesus Christ, the Gospels, and lived out in a bold proclamation of our Christian identity and commitment to all peoples. Unfortunately, humility, personal ambition at all costs, and the neglect of the common good of all peoples, converge to stifle God's plan for all of us.