Today is the Feast Day of St. Josaphat, a unifier of the East and West within Catholicism. He was a preacher, but most importantly, he was a pray-er. We need more prayer warriors these days! So, in the spirit of unifying prayer, “St. Josaphat, we ask you to pray for our Country and unify us in a common goal…to keep America a free, Christian, country. Please turn the hearts of our leaders to the just cause of unifying our country and bringing peace at home, and afar. Amen.”
Many of my friends and readers are fundamental Christians and the thought of asking a Saint to pray for them is absurd, and I respect that. We Catholics believe that the Souls of those who have gone before us are still with us, in a very spiritual way. We believe they are present with us, and are with Our Lord, in the Church Triumphant. We ask their prayers, and add them to our own, in supplication to Our Lord. It’s like how some people feel their departed family members are still watching over them? Ever feel that way? Well, we feel that way about all the Holy Souls who have gone before us and we ask them to pray for us, just like I am asking you to pray for our Country. We believe they are in that spiritual plane with Our Lord (the Beatific Vision) and can hear our prayers, and will pray for us and with us, if we ask them. Hey, I figure the more praying, the better -our country is in a mess!
My thoughts today are all over the map. We spent the weekend chasing down “dress blues” for our son, who is involved with the Civil Air Patrol, or CAP. We went to “Joint Base Lewis/McChord” and spent 2 hours all over the Army side, only to be told (after the second uniform shop) that the Air Force has their side and we had to drive about 5 miles back up north, to their gate and their uniform shop. Hilarious! So much for a “joint base” or a “unified” military base!! But we came out with the right clothing and he is over-the-moon about it! He loves wearing a “real” uniform and is so proud of being in CAP. It is a wonderful organization, is open to both sexes, and runs from age 12 to age 20. Great group; we are blessed. And we experienced life on a military base again (our son was in the Army and my husband was Navy) at a time when our youngest son will remember it; and it just so happened it coincided with Veteran’s Day!
We have been dealing with a sort of weather-election-induced ennui settling over us and it is making my thoughts turn inward, while noticing the outward manifestations of a general “blah.” My god daughter is flying up from CA for Thanksgiving and I really want her to experience a Northwest Thanksgiving! All the amazing colors, the falling leaves, the rain and snow! I just have to get past the cold, dark days and mood that has settled over us, and appreciate the weather change for its own beauty and enjoyment! I love sweaters and fires in the fireplace, along with a nice cup of tea – and I love having all the fall colors and smells and tastes. I think it has become my favorite time of year! So I need to mentally pinch myself and get myself to action!
In preparation for Thanksgiving, as I look back over the past year, we have so much to be grateful for. Our eldest son and his wife presented the world with their first child, a boy, in January. What a blessing he is in our lives! Our son found training and employment after 8 years of serving our Country in the military. Some days are rough and some are very, very awesome. It is a blessing he has a new career and joy in what he does. And then in May, our middle son graduated from College. We are so proud of his accomplishments. In June, he was married and they are now expecting their first child in May. (We are so thrilled! Being a grandparent is incredible)! And, they are both employed, which is another blessing. In amongst all those blessings, we have lost some of the people we love, and we have some people we care deeply for, suffering greatly. My father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in just a few, short weeks, just before Easter. The blessing is that he was able to meet his first great-grandchild before he passed away. All of our children were able to spend some quality time with him, at his bedside, and were there when he actually passed away, surrounded by his family. Our sons held up their dad, as he mourned the passing of his father. It was a blessing to be together, as a family, during a very hard time. God is good.
We have friends and family who are suffering, even now. A friend I wrote about in one of my first blogs was placed in the hospital today, for further observance and the hopes of finding some solutions for her many health problems. I am praying for her constantly. We have family members who are currently suffering, both in health and in finances. Losses of jobs and incomes, both, have affected our family. Health cares are a major concern and we have some rough times right around the proverbial corner. We keep ourselves in constant prayer for those around us, who are suffering.
Each of the lives I have mentioned has been affected directly by the outcome of this election. Some friends and family who have depended upon subsidies and monies from corporations, rather than just relying on Social Security, are now having to reconsider their retirement. Some lost medical benefits and are struggling being accepted into state- and federally-sponsored programs. Some are waiting for benefits that will now be re-evaluated in light of Obamacare. And I fear for some of my older family members, that they may be denied the care they need.
St. Josephat reminds us that we need to “reach across the aisle” and become a Country unified in helping their neighbor. I almost cry, just looking at photos from the East Coast, and have been brought to tears, hearing some of the stories coming out of the disastrous storm, Sandy. There are thousands still without the basic necessities of power, food, water, and shelter. There are sharks preying on the victims, promoting scams on them. (I just don’t know how those people sleep at night). There are people of great influence putting on coats, hats, and gloves and digging in themselves, helping to clean up neighborhoods. The dead are still being uncovered. And winter is almost upon us. In addition to the fallout of Sandy, we have that “fiscal cliff” looming ever larger. How can we allow the process of sequestration to even happen? How did it ever get this far?
According to Dr. Paul M. Johnson, sequestration is: Originally a legal term referring generally to the act of valuable property being taken into custody by an agent of the court and locked away for safekeeping, usually to prevent the property from being disposed of or abused before a dispute over its ownership can be resolved. But the term has been adapted by Congress in more recent years to describe a new fiscal policy procedure originally provided for in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act of 1985 — an effort to reform Congressional voting procedures so as to make the size of the Federal government’s budget deficit a matter of conscious choice rather than simply the arithmetical outcome of a decentralized appropriations process in which no one ever looked at the cumulative results until it was too late to change them. If the dozen or so appropriation bills passed separately by Congress provide for total government spending in excess of the limits Congress earlier laid down for itself in the annual Budget Resolution, and if Congress cannot agree on ways to cut back the total (or does not pass a new, higher Budget Resolution), then an “automatic” form of spending cutback takes place. This automatic spending cut is what is called “sequestration.”
And this is where partisanship has brought us. Automatic forms of spending cutbacks. And it cannot simply be stopped. To further quote Dr. Johnson, “Under sequestration, an amount of money equal to the difference between the cap set in the Budget Resolution and the amount actually appropriated is “sequestered” by the Treasury and not handed over to the agencies to which it was originally appropriated by Congress. In theory, every agency has the same percentage of its appropriation withheld in order to take back the excessive spending on an “across the board” basis. However, Congress has chosen to exempt certain very large programs from the sequestration process (for example, Social Security and certain parts of the Defense budget), and the number of exempted programs has tended to increase over time — which means that sequestration would have to take back gigantic shares of the budgets of the remaining programs in order to achieve the total cutbacks required, virtually crippling the activities of the un-exempted programs.
The prospect of sequestration has thus come to seem so catastrophic that Congress so far has been unwilling actually to let it happen. Instead, Congress has repeatedly chosen simply to raise the Budget Resolution spending caps upward toward the end of the legislative session in order to match the actual totals already appropriated, thus largely wiping out the incentives that the reformed budget procedures were expected to provide for Congress to get better control of the budget deficit.”
We need to stop digging in our heels and refusing to negotiate. We need to give and take, as well as demand. It is inappropriate for our elected officials to keep approving more spending (aka, “raising the cap”) when there is no more money to spend. Printing more money because we run out is foolishness and folly. The system needs to be overhauled. The looming crisis is affecting everything we do – food prices, housing costs, heating costs, clothing, schooling, medical care – everything. The cost of the fallout from Sandy, in light of our fiscal cliff, is almost catastrophic; the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Our costs are so far beyond the money the government takes in, that adjusting is nonsensical. Taxing the top tiers of income-earners is also folly. Do you think they will keep being prosperous if they know their own income is going more and more to float the government’s fiscal irresponsibility? What’s the incentive to be a success? In addition to that, we have to personalize and place into perspective what is happening on Capitol Hill. How many of us continue to spend without making an income? If we head for a fiscal cliff in our personal lives and keep on spending, our credit is shot; we loose our homes – our creditors will not allow us to spend more than we take in; we become bankrupt, or collapse. We need to realize that our government is in the same place. They are about ready to collapse in a heap, after going off this “fiscal cliff” everyone keeps talking about. How can you justify borrowing money from China, at a high rate of interest, in order to fund foreign countries? The interest alone on these loans is crippling our economy. China, if it calls in all its loans, will soon own America. We cannot continue down this path and still maintain our independent Republic. Mr. Obama can salute all the flags he wants, wear his lapel pin, and put his hand over his heart (gee, wonder if staff told him to behave??) but he is not changing the basic ideals he stands for. He is a socialist parading as the leader of the “free world,” intent on destroying the America our Founding Fathers gave us.
It is time we reach across the aisle in our personal lives, as well as our political lives, and let others know we are reaching out. We need to let our elected officials know we are not sheep, and we are paying attention! We want to be a more unified Country while we can still recognize it! And prayer can change anything and everything. In the spirit of the Veterans we remember today (our official public holiday) and in the spirit of the saint who shares this day as his feast day, St. Josaphat, let’s all unite in prayer and reach out to our friends, family, and political adversaries to keep America the Beautiful exactly that; beautifully free.