"How long, O Lord . . . How long . . . ?"
When we first came to America decades ago, it was very different from the America that it turned out to be only a short time later.
At that time there were no school and night club and newspaper offices shootings, no street protests that turned violent and ended in the destruction of private property. People then were more civil. Never did I experience a horn being blown from a car behind me for failing to go two seconds after the traffic lights turned green.
Then, Catholic schools were truly Catholic and public schools respected parents rights over their children. Then, politics did not divide the nation as it bitterly does now. Political discourses are now characterized with harshness and lack of civility among followers. Even the Church has experienced a huge challenge to orthodoxy and suffered from scandals from some of her own clergy and the loss of a huge number of members to other denominations.
Who would have thought that there would be at least 1 million babies killed yearly in the wombs by their own mothers and the terminally ill or elderly by doctors who had sworn to heal their patients ?
There is a long litany of what people and political groups have done to their country and against their fellow human beings. They are splashed over the internet and other media, all of which are used by both sides who present their truths or falsehoods with the same aggressiveness and passion. The list boggles the imagination.
Not only America, but the whole world is in a state of chaos, crisis, confusion and conflict. The president of a Christian country who ordered killings of suspected drug addicts without due process had the temerity to call the Catholic God stupid. There is no peace among men and nations.
People who keep abreast of the happenings in their communities, the nations and the world and look at the protagonists -- generally classified as left or right, liberal or conservative, have reason to be scared of the future of their children and their children's children. They wonder what the reasons or causes of all these are and what needs to be done to prevent the further deterioration of society, and to put it in a different direction.
Social and religious or irreligious commentators and analysts have been presenting their views on why society has come to this. Theologians and others explain it as the work of the Evil One who since the Garden of Eden has taken advantage of man's weak fallen human nature and influenced the culture. It is a culture that idolizes the individual and the State and puts them over family and God.
In a blog article written by Msgr. Charles Pope: "1968 – A Year When Many in the Church Drank the Poison of the World" he quoted a cardinal pointing to 1968 as a year of intense darkness, a terrible year from which we have not recovered. In that year events of a foreign war and two assassinations provoked violence. In the Church an unpopular encyclical on the dignity of human life (Humanae Vitae), divided the Catholics and fomented dissent and anger among themselves.
When a Philippine Vice President was shot in an unsuccessful assasination attempt before the declaration of martial law, he asked in total shock and consternation: "What has happened to our country, General?"
In his blog article, the good monsignor wrote in lament three Latin words quoting Psalm 12:1 "Usquequo Domine … usquequo?"
But Psalm 12:1 reads: "Help, LORD, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race."
The quoted Latin words are found instead in Psalm13:1 and it reads:: "How long, O Lord, wilt thou forget me unto the end? how long dost thou turn away thy face from me?"
The two quoted Psalm lines fit together.
Looking at the status of the country and the world today, many have mixed feelings: "God is still in control. What we need to do is to pray." But someone also said: "Evil flourishes if good men do nothing." We must speak up and get involved . . . but in a Christian way.
"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14