Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gingrich-Redemption and Our Fascination With It

Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination has surprised many by winning the South Carolina primary race and surging ahead, despite difficult odds. (These are just observations I've had, I'm not endorsing any candidate and haven't made up my mind who I would vote for in the presidential election.) I do find the process of electing a president fascinating.
I have heard more than one political commentator say, "The American people are very forgiving." Or- "People can relate to someone who has turned their life around." It seems people can relate to a person who has fallen and admitted it, someone who by the grace and mercy of God has turned their life around and started anew in Christ, with Christ's help. It's a compelling story of the perseverance of the human spirit and what's possible when any human being embraces God's mercy and love. We are all beggars before God. We are all in need of God's encouragement, love and support. Every day when I read the psalms in prayer, I hear over and over again human beings crying out for God from the depths of their being. People in every age and time like the idea that people are given second chances, that God saves and that God's saving grace can be seen and witnessed in the lives of people, from all walks of life. God's grace is available to all who are receptive and open to it.
It seems to me that Newt Gingrich repented and then picked himself up, brushed himself off, accepted and embraced God's mercy and love and started anew in Christ, with Christ at his side. People like that kind of story, it gives hope to everyone. (Mr. Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism in 2009, also had a spiritual director who helped him-Msgr. Walter Rossi, the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, so that was an added advantage. I'm sure the conversations and catechism discussions between them were most interesting.)
So I would imagine that's one reason that Gingrich's campaign turned around. People of all faiths want to believe in the power of God's grace and mercy and see it operative in the world. People are fascinated with redemption and the idea that with God's help all things are possible, second chances are real, just as God's mercy and compassion are real. Just as God is real.

"God is my rock and my salvation, I shall not be disturbed at all."

"Only in God is my soul at rest, from God comes my salvation."