For many of us, the news these past few weeks has been very bleak. Donald Trump’s inauguration has solidified the fact that he is indeed the 45th president of the United States. His recent executive actions, which include approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline, putting a moratorium on immigration and refugee resettlement from Middle Eastern countries, and which approved the construction of the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, have shaken me. The implications of these executive actions on the lives of millions of people in the U.S. and abroad are staggering, and the approval and tacit acceptance of such unjust and hateful policies have revealed a very ugly side of the American people. However, we are still a people of faith and hope and it helps to regain some perspective during such difficult and tumultuous times.
This past weekend, the New York Times published an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof entitled Why 2017 May Be the Best Year Ever. Kristof asserted that despite the fact that news reports paint a picture of doom and gloom, and that our country seems to be going to hell in a hand basket (*my opinion), we are actually better off than we have been… ever. “Remember: The most important thing happening is not a Trump tweet. What’s infinitely more important is that today some 18,000 children who in the past would have died of simple diseases will survive, about 300,000 people will gain electricity and a cool 250,000 will graduate from extreme poverty.”
This gives me hope that humanity is still fundamentally good, that progress, however slow or hidden it may seem, is still happening, and that we are still moving towards that Omega point. I am reminded to trust always in the slow work of God, as Teilhard wrote. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have work to do or that we can sit idly by while the new administration guts civil rights and human rights in this country. I promise to resist. But this gives me hope that all is not lost.
by Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.