Now that the polls are closed in the great swing state of Ohio that I call home, I am more reserved than I was all day. Except for the counting, the re-counting, the hanging chads (electronic or otherwise), and the law suits that no doubt have already been drafted and need only be filed … what’s done is done. The winner has been picked and only needs revealed. As I, along with the nation, anxiously await the results, a thought struck me, not like a ton of bricks, but more like a whispered prayer.
The great miracle of history is how the God of the universe manages blessing in all situations. This is obvious in cases where good triumphs over evil. Yet the contradiction of the Cross demonstrates blessing even in the darkest moments of humanity.
If Romney has won, it signals at least a temporary end to the dismantling of religious freedom by the Obama administration. It may bring the benefit of a Supreme Court nomination that very well could be an important vote for future cases involving a whole host of issues about which Catholics will care deeply. This, along with other issues including a return to fiscal responsibility, will be a true blessing in which we can rejoice and for which we can thank God.
If Romney has lost, what then? A friend of mine expressed great concern about the persecution that the Church will suffer, beginning with the HHS mandate that will be pushed forward. This is indeed a concern, and I have prayed ceaselessly that we may be spared it. Yet at the same time, when my friend asked, “What will the Church do?”, I responded very simply. She will do what she has always done. She will embrace the persecution, all the while fighting it, and martyrs will be made. The Church knows exactly what to do in times of persecution, for she has been done that road before. In fact, she thrives amidst persecution. And this too is a blessing. The Christian contradiction is the transformation that the Cross brings to suffering.
Don’t take my reservation to be a pessimism; quite the contrary. I predict a Romney victory with 51% of the popular vote and 287 electoral votes. Yet if the ballots fall the other way, I will not hang my head. Disappointment will not give way to despair, for my salvation and the salvation of the world does not fall in the person of Mitt Romney, president or otherwise. While we rejoice in individual victories that good enjoys over evil, we do not despair in those battles lost. We do not despair because we know the end of this narrative. We know that Christ will come again, that evil has been definitively conquered in the sacrifice of the Cross. With the end already known, the only question is what part we will play in the great drama of salvation. Either way, there is great blessing.