Spirituality for Today – Fall 2019 – Volume 24, Issue 1


Rev. Raymond Petrucci

The extravaganza we call the Presidential Election once again is upon us. Primaries, debates, policy statements along with dirty tricks, negative advertisements, and accusations of misconduct will fill the media. It is all part of the game. Politicians speak endlessly about the need to safeguard American values. The party in power promises to continue affirming these values and the opposing party promises to restore them. This is a time to reflect on the idea and the IDEALS of which define a democracy. Ideals, generally, are considered to be admirable, but unattainable goals. If ideals are ever to be realized, it will take a singular element within a human being. Someone once opined that a person easily can formulate ideals, but only a person of CHARACTER can achieve them. One might define a person of character as possessing qualities such as integrity, honesty, competence, compassion, and an unflinching commitment to act righteously. Our candidates will do everything that they can to convince the voter that they have the character necessary to govern effectively. Contrastingly, each candidate will try to offer an image of their opponent as evil incarnate. The continuous battering of character that the candidate must endure causes us to wonder why any rational person would ever agree to run for office.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Helen Keller

Spiritually speaking, we want to live a life pleasing to God; we hope to live up to God's expectations of his creation. In order to accomplish any ideal of holiness, we need to be persons of character. Now, the qualities of character expand in number and intensity. The formation of character requires a conscience formed in God's will and one operating fully through a total personal dedication to serve that will. At ground level, a functional attitude toward becoming a person of faith, prayer, charity, forgiveness, justice, and all those qualities that one associates with being a follower of Christ is the task before us. As the years have passed, I have noted that sin is loud and grace is soft. What I mean is that temptation celebrates itself with bright, flashing attractions that seduce us with a "come hither" stare promising pleasures without repercussions and fulfilments without consequences. God's grace, however, comes softly, bestowing an inner joy, deep and pure, within one's heart and soul. Given our complex natures, we face the challenge of being on guard, calling on our best capacity for wisdom and understanding, against the lie of sin and to welcome the beauty and truth of grace.

Throughout human history, examples of grace and sin have been on display abundantly. Our time is no different. Worldwide connectivity and ubiquitous media outlets make our age singularly sensitive to their presence. Unfortunately, many of the news and entertainment media reflect biases toward one ideology or another. The result is that an already vulnerable populace is exposed to designer information that victimized their ability to discern fact from fiction. Conservative or progressive leaning individuals can find a plentiful trough from which to feed. This condition causes divisiveness, alienation, and hostility in our society. Ultimately, you have to seek a wide range of information from which to glean the truth – if you can.

Thankfully, above the fray, is the gospel. The Christian is blessed with a God–given moral law that is replete with commandments and moral teachings that set one's course in a manner that is most beneficial for the human race and the world in which it lives. Sounds simple, doesn't it? The Father of Lies, the Prince of this World is an old hand at deception and playing on the weaknesses of man. As always, a higher faith in the Prince of Peace and the Savior of Souls along with a keen resolve to follow him will see us safely home. Grace or sin, the "blessing or the curse" is the choice we all must make. This reality is our character maker.