As you may recall, I try to remember each week to take a moment before Mass starts and ask the Lord to give me a word or phrase that He wants me to meditate on. (I can't claim any credit for this idea... I read it in the How To Book of the Mass, and I was so intrigued by the idea I decided to give it a try).
This Sunday my attention was drawn to the first reading, which was from Isaiah 45:
1 "This is what the LORD says to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
so that gates will not be shut:
2 I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
men may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
The Cyrus that is being mentioned, from what I've read in the past, is Cyrus the Great, who was King of Persia. He led his armies, conquered Babylon (where the Israelites had been exiled), and built up the Persian Empire.
Not a Godly man's first choice by any stretch of the imagination.
And yet, here is God Himself, calling him "his anointed" and saying that He was summoning him, giving him a place of honor, strengthening him and going before him, even though Cyrus himself would never know or acknowledge God. God used him to bring His people back from captivity, and it was his decrees that allowed them to start rebuilding the Temple.
What I came away with was the idea that God can use anyone. He can use whomever He chooses to bring about blessings, even if that person chosen is not the nicest or Godliest of people.
He can also use anything.
Romans 8:28 says that "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him...", and I can think of one event in particular where this was so "in your face" true. It was a devastating event in my life that stripped everything away and left me shell-shocked and numb. I cried every day for a solid year. I begged and pleaded with God to make this go away. He didn't. I thought He was brutally unfair, and told Him so on many occasions.
Because He allowed this event to happen, and all the other events associated with it, I wound up meeting my husband, and these sweet little faces you see in the banner above are here now because of it.
Which brings me back to point number 1: God can use anything or anyone to bring about blessings, even if that event, or person, is not good.
I am, like everyone else, worried about this election. I am sickened and greatly grieved by all the horrible things an "O" presidency would bring about. And yet, I keep coming back to Our Lord can use anyone -- even if that person refuses to acknowledge God -- to bring about blessings for His people. He can take the most devastating of outcomes, or horrific events, or tragically misguided presidential candidates, and bring blessings out of it.
I still pray for the election, which we are called to do.
I pray for an end to abortion, which we are called to do.
We are still to be faithful.
If the worst happens, and we find ourselves sobbing in front of the TV on election night, I will try to remember the glimmer of hope I received at Mass on Sunday -- that God can use anyone. ANYone.