That’s because since I’ve been at Nativity of Mary every October I get treated to two pancake breakfasts. This year the Knights of Columbus will have their pancake breakfast at the KC Hall, this coming Sunday, on October 12. Then just two weeks later, here in our school cafeteria on October 26, the Cub Scouts will sponsor their annual pancake breakfast. I love it. Pancakes are for me the ultimate comfort food. I keep eating until my hands are so sticky from the syrup that I have to run my hand under hot water to separate the fork from my hand.
Then, after my craving for pancakes has been satisfied, my mind is free to concentrate on another worthy October preoccupation – politics. It’s safe to say that the average person will encounter more political advertising in October than in any other month. As annoying as those ads can be, they do us a great service. They remind us of our civic and religious responsibilities. With elections coming up again next month, it’s time in earnest to form our consciences.
How often I stand in that booth at the polling place on Election Day and I feel that prick in my conscience. I think, “I should have studied more. I should have prayed about this more. I should have prepared better.” Election season tests our faith. It should be for us a time of personal and spiritual growth and a time for Catholics to make a difference in society. It’s a way to show that we care.
Resolve to spend some time in prayer, reflection, and study before you go to the polls. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Minnesota Catholic Conference offer some good educational material on their websites.
I particularly like a thought that was in the USCCB’s “Faithful Citizenship” document. There the bishops warn us to beware of “two temptations” when striving to form our consciences. The first temptation is “to say that all issues are morally equivalent with no ethical distinctions.” The bishops remind us that this simply isn’t so and that, “the direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life... is always wrong and is not just one issue among many.”
The second temptation to avoid is to think that only certain issues matter. In other words, the bishops remind us that there are many threats to human life and dignity and to a peaceful ordering of our world. Somehow we have to find a way to stand against not just some injustices but all of them. That’s all the more reason we need to be diligent in prayer and study before we cast our vote.
I pray that as we turn in our ballots our consciences will be able to say, “I am a Catholic and I approve this message.” It’s pancake season – so no waffling. God, help us to be true to the call.