Our Pro-Life Athelney
Nor any sign she cast,
Only she stood up straight and free,
Between the flowers in Athelney,
And the river running past.
"Mother of God," the wanderer said,
"I am but a common king,
Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
To see a secret thing.
"The gates of heaven are fearful gates
Worse than the gates of hell;
Not I would break the splendours barred
Or seek to know the thing they guard,
Which is too good to tell.
"But for this earth most pitiful,
This little land I know,
If that which is for ever is,
Or if our hearts shall break with bliss,
Seeing the stranger go?
"When our last bow is broken, Queen,
And our last javelin cast,
Under some sad, green evening sky,
Holding a ruined cross on high,
Under warm westland grass to lie,
Shall we come home at last?"
And a voice came human but high up,
Like a cottage climbed among
The clouds; or a serf of hut and croft
That sits by his hovel fire as oft,
But hears on his old bare roof aloft
A belfry burst in song.
"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gain,
The heaviest hind may easily
Come silently and suddenly
Upon me in a lane.
"And any little maid that walks
In good thoughts apart,
May break the guard of the Three Kings
And see the dear and dreadful things
I hid within my heart.
"The meanest man in grey fields gone
Behind the set of sun,
Heareth between star and other star,
Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
The council, eldest of things that are,
The talk of the Three in One.
"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gold,
Men may uproot where worlds begin,
Or read the name of the nameless sin;
But if he fail or if he win
To no good man is told.
"The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.
"The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.
"The wise men know what wicked things
Are written on the sky,
They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
Hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten seraph kings
Still plot how God shall die.
"The wise men know all evil things
Under the twisted trees,
Where the perverse in pleasure pine
And men are weary of green wine
And sick of crimson seas.
"But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.
"Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?" ...
~ From The Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterton ~
I encourage you to read Chesterton's epic poem in its entirety. The stanzas I have quoted here are my favorites, as well as those I believe most apt to current events. Beyond them, I don't have much more to add in response to the results of the election. Well, that is, apart from these thoughts:
(1) Pray for President-elect Obama. He will need our prayers over the next 4 years. He is taking on the biggest job in the world, and he is, quite honestly, woefully ill-prepared for it. I do not say that to belittle him, only to note his level of inexperience and the need for our prayers that he will live up to the job he has been given. Also pray for President-elect Obama to have a change of heart on matters of the sanctity of life and marriage. If he is as reasonable and open to the views of pro-lifers as his Catholic proponents claim him to be, then I'm sure he will appreciate those prayers.
(2) Hold those Catholic proponents of President-elect Obama accountable for his record. Thomas Peters said it well here:
Pro-Obama Catholics will remain with us into an Obama presidency. And we must hold these people accountable. By this I mean we have to hold them to the promises they have made the Catholic faithful about the reduction of abortions which they claim Obama's presidency will bring about, as well as a whole range of other predictions. They are on record, we have read their statements, and the burden is on them.And I mentioned my plans for holding them accountable here:
I will hold Doug Kmiec and his ilk personally responsible for every bit of Obama's pro-abortion agenda. And they'll hear about it, too...Those Catholics who worked for and encouraged their fellow Catholics to vote for the election of President-elect Obama should be made to understand that we are watching to see if the "pro-life" promises they made regarding their candidate come to fruition.
(3) Never stop fighting for a culture of life. Catholics on the left hate the fact that social issues such as abortion and marriage tend to dominate the discussion about "the Catholic vote". They have derisively called those of us who fight for a culture of life "culture warriors", "divisive", "narrowly focused", and even "discriminatory". They accuse us of using these issues as "wedge issues" to push for the election of one party over the other. They say we're trapped in a "culture war paradigm". Unfortunately there is also a subset of Catholics who I would not consider to be on the political left but who nevertheless appear ready and willing to wave the white flag of surrender; who no longer have the stomach for the fight; who are willing to seek "peace in our time" with those whose agenda does not allow for any compromise that might inhibit the forward march of the culture of death. Let's call these folks "culture war pacifists". Don't be bullied or cowed into silent submission by those who call you "divisive" and "narrowly focused". Don't be lured by the siren song of "peace in our time" by folks who seek to accommodate or appease those with no interest in compromising their pro-abortion and anti-marriage agendas. They're not trying to find a "middle ground" on torture; so, why are they trying to make accommodations on the sanctity of life and marriage? Don't give up. Don't give in. Continue to struggle and sacrifice and hold out hope for a culture of life. And remember that politics is only a small, albeit necessary part, of the fight. There are also thousands of battles that are fought every day for hearts and minds and souls. Work in your communities to promote a culture of life. Show the Obama Catholics to be liars when they claim that we don't practice what we preach on life issues.
(4) Above all, have joy even when there seems to be no cause for such; have faith even when there seems to be no hope.