My Secular Franciscan Fraternity held its annual "Extraction of Saints" on Friday evening. This is a beautiful custom and we just love participating in it. In fact, we have members who have moved out of state, as well as the Sisters who no longer minister in our parish, asking to remain included in it. Naturally, we would never turn them away!
This year I was given the virtue of FAITH as the virtue I am to strive to develop. The Scripture that is to inspire me this year goes along with that virtue: "Come to my help, Lord God of my salvation." And my patron saint for the year will be St. Michael the Archangel.
I've heard people say, "Watch what you ask God for--you just might get it!" And every time someone says they need to pray for patience, they are warned that what they might get is plenty of times in which they need to USE patience. So when we host our Extraction of Saints, and the virtue is chosen for each person, that's the time when we all hold our breath. (Nobody likes to hear "Poverty" or "Fortitude!")
I know that my husband is very worried about what will happen for people of faith due to the inauguaration of the most anti-life president ever. I know that this is a time in which we cannot hide our faith--we must be sure to let it show, and to work hard to defend it. With that in mind, and calling upon the help of St. Michael the Archangel, I will try to keep the faith and not be shy about standing up for what I believe in.
This will not be an easy year. Obama made that clear by rescinding the Mexico City policy, and there is the threat of FOCA (though cousin Thomas doesn't think that threat is as imminent as some might believe--read more here.) And we've got the Speaker of the House, third in line for the presidency, telling our nation on national TV that federal funding for contraception will be helpful for the economy. That's right--she has suggested that it will help our nation's economy if people stop having babies; she contends that educating children is too expensive, as is their health care. Children are the future of our nation, but the Speaker of the House, a mother and grandmother herself, considers them more of a drain on national resources than a gift from God.
I was heartened this morning to hear a teacher at my younger children's school explaining the dangers of FOCA to our library aide. I am disappointed that my parish has done nothing, however, to join the postcard campaign or even include a bulletin announcement about the issue. So my first step this year will be to contact my pastor and encourage him to do this.
If we take even the smallest action in faith, those actions will add up. They will make a difference.