We begin a New Year by saying, “Happy Birthday” to the woman who is the inspiration for these reflections. 1833 brought great promise to the Lechner family as they welcomed the little girl who would become the Foundress of a world wide congregation. How different was the time in which she lived! It was a time of royalty, of Catholic rulers who were just beginning to experiment with legislating bodies voted into office by their citizens. Great social change was in the making. We are the inheritors of that change. Everywhere there is either a democratic style government or a great desire for something similar.
We have become familiar with the need to be critical of the members of the legislative bodies and the individuals we elect to office. We watch their actions and affirm or protest them. Laws must be evaluated. There are unjust laws which harm especially the poor and those who are otherwise powerless and voiceless. How do democracy and faith interact. I wonder if it does not require a careful balancing act. The laws of God are not a result of a ballot victory. Even if the vast majority of people agree to a practice, it does not mean that it has become morally right. It almost seems today that the obligation to be critical of authority has become a knee-jerk reaction to everything we hear. We seem to criticize so easily. We don’t “like” this or that. Then we go on to another topic. I wonder if Mother Franziska would ask us some penetrating questions about some of our criticisms. Have we studied the topic in depth from various viewpoints and facts? Have we reflected on the common good? Have we looked at the teachings of the Church into which we were baptized? Is this a place where we have an obligation and/or the expertise to comment? Let us not become a part of the destructive wind that is sweeping our sad world, the easy, uniformed criticism of just about everything.Mother Franziska would advice us with a smile to be on the lookout for the good and change the world with loving affirmation.