In the fall of 1972, as a first year theology student in Rome, I can remember working very hard to prepare my very first catechesis in Italian (the folly of youth!) for the children in the Coolie's anemia wing of Bambino Gesu Hospital. To do it I memorized in Italian (horrible American pronunciation) the verse: The Lord is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path. I am sure that verse was mine in English long before 1972, but yesterday it became mine again in English as I devoted part of my day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria to a second and more reflective reading of the Pope's Encyclical Letter LUMEN FIDEI. These words are to be found in paragraph 57, which discusses the problem of suffering in our lives:
"Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey."
I rather suspect that unless President or Mrs. Obama woke with a powerful start in the night, enough to make him rethink his calculations about American geopolitical dominance in our world divided, that we will see the US, through some violent act, throw another Mideast country into the jaws of chaos. Many will suffer and ask, Why, Lord? How can this be?
There is no hoping that our world would be any better with an enlightened Christian ruler at the helm, but I think we need to start putting up serious resistance to the dictatorship of relativism. I was thoroughly appalled by a short FoxNews video interview with some Washington expert insisting that if Obama does not choose violence we'll be stuck with a sort of Shakespearean Hamlet as our president for the next 3+ years.... This guy's hollow argument touted nothing but protagonism for the sake of playing and winning at "king of the hill" or did I miss something in his pointless words. Does a "no" to violation of the century old ban on the use of atrocious chemical and biological weapons have to be punctuated with further detonations? Has anyone to date really tried to broker peace in Syria through negotiation? Does one or more failure necessarily disqualify the reasoned approach of appealing to the justice and humanity of men and women of good will?
The Lord is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path. I pray that our world claims this verse for its own.
While I'm at it, let me put in a pitch for:
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
TO THE BISHOPS PRIESTS AND DEACONS
AND THE LAY FAITHFUL