I hate living in a secular world. It involves pretending that we live in a world without God. Religion becomes a personal thing without repercussions in everyday life. In this “real” secular world, God can exist, but not effectively act.
Such a perception of God is, of course, false. I would hate to imagine what the world would look like if we were left to run it alone. Even in our secular world, God works in unseen ways. In addition, we would be surprised if we were to see the effects of our own role in praying for God’s action.
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I was thinking about this recently after receiving many e-mails from friends and readers who were commenting on the difficulties of living in our secular world. So many think they are alone in having recourse to God since it is not officially recognized by secular society. However, we should always be aware that so many people do have recourse to God and their prayers are answered. I was impressed by how these friends prayed and confided in God even in unlikely places. God truly acts in this world in astonishing ways. We should not underestimate the efficacy of prayers in our daily lives.
There was an e-mail from Linda, for example. If there is a place where God supposedly does not act, it would be aboard the hi-tech world of aviation. Aboard the modern jetliner, there is no religious symbol or reminder of God visible to passengers. Everything exudes optimism and efficiency. Everything is humanly calculated to avoid disaster.
But Linda is a flight attendant who fights the good fight. She writes: “Keep up your faith and know you’re not alone. I have my fair share of hassles like you. I just keep my ‘holy stash’ on board and work the Rosary beads nonstop for all my fellow crew members and passengers. Be reassured we’re all in this spiritual battle together. God will assist His loving warriors!”
If we fly with relative safety, I suspect it is not because of Homeland Security but because there are many Lindas out there praying for God’s protection from natural disasters and evildoers while we fly. We really have no idea of how much good is done by such prayers and how many dangers are avoided.
I received another e-mail from Sister Rita. She is old and unable to work full time at her community’s hospital. She writes that her motherhouse has perpetual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and assures me that my intentions are enfolded in the community prayer requests. “Our retired sisters rotate hourly during the twelve hours of the day, the working sisters take the night hours. That is noble and generous of all. You will ‘feel’ the power of prayer through these sacrifices made.”
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Indeed, I was very touched by being included in these intentions. One can indeed “feel” the power of this prayer. If our efforts yield any results, I have no doubt it is because there are many Sister Ritas out there who pray for those who fight the good fight; she helps secure God’s aid for us.
If America survives today, it is because there are so many praying in jetliners and in the more than one thousand perpetual adoration chapels nationwide. Much more is accomplished in the silence of the night before Our Lord than in so many boardrooms and legislatures.
God does not abandon us even though we may not recognize His action among us. That is the great tragedy of secularism. The material world only presents part of the reality of our lives. By pretending God does not act in society, we deprive ourselves of the enormous power of prayers that can help resolve our problems. We deprive God of His just honor and praise and fail to ask His blessing upon us.
If there is to be a return to order, we need to stop pretending.