14 July 2014

Wanting a savior, Needing the Lord

Ever since I started working in corporate America, I've felt myself subscribing more and more to fiscal conservatism. (Obviously not above other more pressing issues (life, liberty, etc.), just in the realm of budgeting and fiscal policy.) Fiscal conservatives come in many forms but ultimately can all agree on the necessity of a balanced budget, working to get America out of debt, and spending less than you make, even if that means raising taxes, but especially if it means decreasing government spending. I think that a country which wants to make financially responsible citizens, should, itself, be financially responsible.

I've always felt a twinge of guilt when voicing or even thinking about my opinions about how the government shouldn't just hand out money (welfare) or insurance (medicaid) or any of these things which are "human rights." The Church promotes social responsibility, and is the largest charitable organization in the world. I honestly think the way to end poverty is to show individuals how much they can receive by helping the poor and needy and forgotten. Raising taxes to take care of the poor is like a doctor writing a prescription only knowing one of your symptoms, and doing no tests to determine a proper diagnosis.

The town I grew up in was recently named one of Forbes' most affluent communities in the U.S. Growing up here, I knew that I was very fortunate. Not everyone can go to a high school where 94% of their 660 person graduating class would go on to graduate from a 4 year university. When your town has an average household income of nearly a quarter of a million dollars per year, people on the outside throw the words entitled, snobby, bratty, rich kids etc., around a lot. Of course there are bad apples but for the most part, we all knew how lucky we were, and because our town is a lot of "new money," we knew that our parents worked hard for what they had, and it was just that: theirs! We definitely had the opportunities that a lot of people would love, but we also made the most of them, and we understand that our parents don't owe us that lifestyle, and if we want to maintain it, we'll have to work hard for it like they did.

Going back to taxes, it's difficult to see so many of my hard earned dollars leave my paycheck and help pay for something I don't believe in. I know a woman who is "permanently disabled" and does not work because she has a severe case of night blindness. I know another person who collected unemployment for well over six months with an injury that was healed after two. When it comes to entitlement, these people take the cake! I simply cannot understand the idea that because someone else has more than I do, they OUGHT to give some to me because I deserve it.

Last weekend in Mass, Father preached about wanting a savior. A savior sounds awesome: someone who can take care of me when I'm sick, buy me things I want or need, do my laundry when I don't feel like it, and save me from boredom, sadness, tiredness, apathy, etc. A savior would be great! I am very fortunate to be born in the USA, but my government is not my savior, nor should it be for anyone.

But a savior isn't the ONLY thing that we need. Jesus doesn't JUST save us; He requires a response. Love ALWAYS requires a response; it pervades time and space and emotion and intellect. It alters who you are at your core. When you meet Jesus and know Love as He really is, you can turn toward him or you can turn away, but one thing is for certain: you can never be the same. And Jesus not only requires a response, but also a shift in the way your whole life works. Now that I know Him I have to live in the way He lived. I have to follow His commands and love the least of my brothers, even when it's hard. He knows I'm far from perfect and He forgives me when I fail, so long as I resolve to pick let him pick me up and do better. There are some things that He asks of me that are difficult, but I do them because my heart cannot turn away from His love.

I trust that people are good. Because I believe in humanity, I really think that taking care of the poor and needy should be left to the private sector. The individual, not the institution, has the power to change someone's life for the better, even by handing out a sandwich or providing a warm place to stay or a job. Cor a cor loquitor. Heart speaks to heart. That is when changes are efficacious and reciprocal.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

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