There’s no doubt that our Republic is going through some trials and tribulations. That’s nothing new, but the current climate and severity is. After decades of incremental internal socialism and federal power grabs, we find ourselves waking up to a nation far different than what our Founders gave us. But this morning at Mass I was reminded that you can not destroy the human spirit, it’s yearning for faith, or for liberty.
My parish Priest is a Polish national. He grew up under the yoke of Communism, a political system that replaces God with the state and demands total subjugation of the human spirit. Yet his faith, and that of the Polish people, could not be destroyed. In the end that faith, and the faith of one Pole in particular, prevailed and contributed mightily to the downfall of the Godless belief system that sought to destroy it.
This morning our Mass was presided over by the Bishop of the diocese of Kharkiv in the Ukraine, himself also a Pole. Our priest had to translate for him as he does not speak English, but the inspirational story of the Ukrainian church was clear. The Eucharist given in the Vulgate was less clear, but the rhythm of the words and the familiarity of the ritual was intrinsically ingrained in us, the same as the intrinsic truth of our founding principles are.
After the 1917 revolution the Bolsheviks began a persecution of Christians which continued unabated throughout the 20th century until the fall of the Soviet Union. The persecution of the Ukrainian Catholics was particularly severe. In 1945 Stalin arrested or executed every Catholic bishop in the Ukraine. Every single church, monastery, seminary, and nunnery was destroyed. Even worship in your own home was prohibited and punishable by imprisonment. Despite this persecution however the faith of the Ukrainian people was never destroyed. It may have been driven underground, but it never perished.
Now the diocese is rebuilding, both materially and spiritually. People are returning to the embrace of the church they were denied under totalitarian despotism. The rebuilding is not easy, but it is being undertaken with the spirit of faith which could not be destroyed.
So as we watch our own fundamental beliefs and heritage under systematic attack by the left, we should take heart and inspiration from the Ukrainian people. Although not as severe or overt as the persecution of Christians under communism, make no mistake that our foundational principles are under assault. But through our basic human yearning for liberty and freedom, commitment to our principals, and the courage of our commitments, we can and will prevail. The principles of our Republic are just, strong, and can not be destroyed. Although there are those who profess to be our countrymen who would destroy those principles, or at the least disregard and degrade them until they are no longer the guiding force of our political system, they can not be undone or removed from our hearts, from our being. They will persevere. As long as we hold them dear and pass them on to our descendants, they will never perish. And in the end, regardless of the trials we endure, our Republic will, must, survive. Those of us who love our nation, who revere our founding, who honor our Constitution must not lose faith. We must resolve ourselves to the fight and vow that the enemy will advance no more.
We have reached an impasse in this ideological culture war. There is no room for compromise, no territory to which we can retreat. In the arena of ideas we are diametrically opposed to the political opposition. Regardless of their motivations or intentions, they stand for the destruction of our Republic as we inherited it. We stand for it’s preservation.There can be no reconciliation between the two. Only one ideology can prevail.
And in this fight we will prevail. There can be no other option for us, for we stand as the last beacon of liberty in the world.
If the Ukrainian faithful can endure over 70 years of abject and severe persecution, to the point of death, we can endure the left’s assault on our beliefs and on our nation. And in the same way that they eventually triumphed over the forces of evil which enslaved their spirits, we can triumph over the forces of evil which wish to subjugate our liberty.