Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro’s Resignation

I suppose that Castro’s resignation may be cause for rejoicing. Many have prayed for this day for many years. Some have even prayed for this man’s demise in the hope that his tyrannical dictatorship would come to an end. But how does one know that the one who follows him will be any better and not perhaps even worse?

But these perceptions are purely pragmatic. They certainly are not the thoughts of the pure in spirit who reflect the love of their God and Savior.

What does our God declare as His way?

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1 Timothy 2:8)

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)

What a strange God we Christians follow! How strange His ways are to the ways of the sinful human heart.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

The Lord our God declares that He is the one and the only one to whom vengeance belongs, for He alone is just and holy. Yet from whom does He exact this vengeance? He stoops to become a man and takes the sin of the world into His own person and says, “I will repay!”

Such is the way of the Lord our God. His way is not our end but our beginning. His way is the way of reconciliation through peace that He has purchased by His own sacrifice.

And thus, having been reconciled to God in Christ, we are free to do unto others as He has first done unto us. We are free to turn the other cheek when we are struck in slander and mockery. We are free to forgive our enemies and even to pray for their health so that they may live to hear the beautiful message of the Gospel and receive from God the same full pardon that we have received.

We often cry out against those who do evil in this world. But how often do we look upon them with the new hearts that God has created within us so that we pray for them? How often do we pray for the abortionist and the liberal politician who empowers these pretend doctors? How often do we pray for those who are working to bring our nation to ruin?

Thanks be to God that He has established our prayer in which we do pray for all, opening with the words: “Our Father . . .” and continuing with “Thy kingdom come . . .” and then, “. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Then also in the General prayer of the Church we are led by God through His beautiful liturgy to pray for all men and all rulers and even our enemies.

How truly good God is to give us such prayers whereby He leads us to pray what we would not pray of our own accord! How good God is to count these prayers as our own good will even though we often do not think of the words that we pray! How good God is to hear our prayers and to reply, “Well done, my blessed and beloved children!”

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