God is—and must be—involved!
George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and many other Founding Fathers of our nation believed in God, but were not precisely Christians. Instead, they were Deists who held to the philosophy/theology that God created the world, but that after creation, God was uninvolved—no revelation, no intervention in the world and thus no need for prayer, no miracles. Thomas Jefferson went so far as to re-write the Bible, cutting out all the miracles.
We Christians regard this understanding of God as strange. Christians believe that God not only created the world, but revealed Himself to us ultimately in the person of Jesus. We believe in the descent of the Holy Spirit in the world to continue to work and to empower Christians to continue to carry out God’s plan.
This is what we say. But how do we act?
Sometimes we are Christians—who act like Deists.
God is at work in the world,but sometimes we act as if everything depended on us. We see problems in our personal lives, in our families, in our society and in our Church. We then resort to self-help books, counselors, new laws, and new policies. All these approaches are of some benefit, but they can only do so much.
Indeed, perhaps we are going about things backwards. Our first call should be to God, seeking his plan, guidance, and power.
We cannot solve the problems of our lives or of the world on our own. The good Saint, Pope John XXIII, was worrying about a problem, but then realized it was a problem for God to solve when he recalled that he was only the pope.
God has a plan for each of us, but sometimes we lose sight of the goal. Despite confusion, difficulties and fears, we Christians also hold firm in the belief that God has something magnificent in his plan for each of us. On August 15, we celebrate the Assumption of Mary—body and soul—to Heaven. William Wordsworth, in the 1822 poem, The Virgin, referred to Mary as “our tainted nature’s solitary boast.” Mary was a human, like us in all things except sin. We can “boast” that a human like us was taken into heaven. The glory in which Mary now shares is a glory that God plans to share with each of us.
The Founding Fathers thought that they could create a perfect society here on earth. They did not need God. We Christians know differently: the only perfect society is Heaven and only God is going to get us there!
Chorbishop John D. Faris