Archive for October, 2010


St. Louis Cardinals

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I was in St. Louis yesterday for a guest appearance on Colleen Carroll Campbell”s excellent EWTN program “Faith and Culture.” My episode will air in a couple months. Stay tuned for details!

The filming took place at the Cardinal Rigali Center, the site of the archdiocesan offices. While I was there, I was honored to be able to sign a book just outside the chapel containing messages and good wishes to Archbishop Raymond Burke. The book will be given to Archbishop Burke when he officially becomes a cardinal on November 20th.

As even its name implies, St. Louis has a rich Catholic history. We see it now in the fact that two former St. Louis archbishops are now active (i.e., eligible to vote) cardinals: Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, and now Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. I don”t believe that any other archdiocese in the world can make such a claim. 

And beyond that, Cardinal-designate Burke is beloved in many quarters throughout the world because of his prayerful, gentle demeanor combined with his uber-courageous defense of the Catholic faith and all that is true, good, and beautiful.

So today I thought I would give readers this link to an editorial that appeared this week in the Washington Times regarding Cardinal-designate Burke and Catholic voters, as he has spoken forcefully and often regarding Catholics” duties not to vote for candidates who support abortion “rights.” I especially liked this quote:

“I had discovered over the years that many people simply were confused about their moral obligation in voting. . . . Many Catholics have the idea that while they might hold in their personal lives certain moral truths, that when it came to voting it was all right simply to bracket those truths and to vote according to other criteria.” 

Notre Dame and Archbishop Broglio

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Two interestings items I read about today at Catholic World News:

(1) Notre Dame

Contributions declined $120 million during the fiscal year in which President Barack Obama was awarded an honorary degree. Coincidence? I think not. If one factors out governmental grants (which are about the same from year to year) and looks exclusively at contributions from private sources, this represents a 58% decline. CWN further breaks down the numbers here

(2) Archbishop Broglio

Most Reverend Timothy Broglio is the Catholic Archbishop of the U.S. Military Services. In a Catholic News Agency story, Archbishop Broglio responded to court rulings regarding the constitutionality of excluding homosexual men and women from the military, and the controversial “Don”t ask, don”t tell” policy. Archbishop Broglio points out that there is no constitutional right to enter the military, and he also noted that a repeal of “don”t ask, don”t tell” could endanger the freedom of chaplains, since “there is the danger that teaching objective moral precepts or seeking to form youngsters in the faith could be misconstrued as intolerance.” God bless him for his courageous stance.

Heavenly Dining

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Mother Teresa died and went to heaven. God greeted her at the pearly gates.

“Be thou hungry, Mother Teresa?” asked God.

“I could eat,” Mother Teresa humbly replied.

So God opened a can of tuna and reached for a chunk of rye bread and they began to share it. While eating this simple meal, Mother Teresa looked down into hell and saw the inhabitants devouring huge steaks, lobsters, pheasants, and pastries. Curious, but deeply trusting, she kept quiet.

The next day God again invited her to join Him for a meal. Again, it was tuna and rye bread. Once again, Mother Teresa could see the denizens of hell enjoying lamb, turkey, venison, and delicious desserts. Still she said nothing.

The following day, mealtime arrived and another can of tuna was opened. She couldn’t contain herself any longer. Meekly, she asked, “God, I am grateful to be in heaven with you as a reward for the pious, obedient life I led. But here in heaven all I get to eat is tuna and a piece of rye bread, and in the other place they eat like emperors and kings! I just don’t understand it . . .”

God sighed. “Let’s be honest Teresa,” He said. “For two people, it just doesn’t pay to cook.”

“Current” Events

Monday, October 25th, 2010

One of my favorite lines from Fr. John Hardon, the late, great Jesuit theologian whose cause for sainthood is working its way through the Church, is: “even a corpse can float downstream.” 

Yet, as St. Irenaeus famous said, “The glory of God is man fully alive!”  If we are fully alive in Christ, then we have the vitality to swim against the current, to work against the pull of the flesh that wants to drag us downstream. And there is no neutrality here: if we do nothing but “go with the flow,” then we we”ll be dragged along with those who have made a conscious decision in favor of the “flesh” as opposed to the life-giving “spirit.”

Those who are faithfully answering the radical call to the consecrated life are the most “alive” people I”ve ever encountered. This past weekend, my wife and I had the privilege of visiting with our daughter at the motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. What struck me even more than the calls to chastity and obedience was the way they live the call to poverty.

Like the woman in today”s Gospel who was healed of her infirmity and was able to stand upright for the first time in many years, these beautiful young ladies are not “bent over” and worried about things here below. Rather, with Our Lord as their strength and constant companion, they see things from a more God-centered perspective. They are free. They appreciate and enjoy everything. They are not bored or thinking about what they”ve ”given up” or don”t have. What an amazing paradox: By becoming poor, they have truly become rich!  


Giving What We Got

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

This weekend my wife Maureen and I are heading to Ann Arbor to visit our daughter, Sr. Mary Kate. This will be our first opportunity to visit her since she entered the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist this past August. We”re so excited to see her!

With this upcoming visit in mind, I was recently pondering a light-hearted comment that one of the Dominican sisters made at a gathering of Catholic leaders a couple months ago. She said, “We need your prayers. We need your money. We need your daughters.” On all three counts, I can”t think of a better recipient than this thriving, faithful religious community.

Yet, our society and especially our government are competing for the same things!  [more]

The money, of course, is a no-brainer. The government wants as much of it as it can get away with taking, and our consumerist society is ready to pounce on whatever is left.

But what about the others? What does our secular society, let alone our government, care about our prayers? It would seem that if anything they don”t want us to pray or acknowledge God at all, especially in public.

Maybe instead of prayer we could say our “hearts.” They want our “buy in.” They want our allegiance, our adherence to their agenda. They want us to be Americans who happen to be (nominal) Catholics, not Catholics who happen to be Americans.

As sincere Catholics, we pray to God, trusting that our heavenly Father knows what”s best for us (cf. Mt. 6:31-32; 7:11; Lk, 12:7; Phil. 4:19). We want to grow in union with Him.

Society and the government want us to trust them instead (never mind what it says on our money!), because they think they know what”s best for us. They don”t want us to be counter-cultural witnesses to Christ. Instead, they want us to “go with the flow” and follow the fashions and political correctness of an increasingly “godless” society in the West.

And, like the good sisters, they want our kids. That makes sense economically, not only when it comes to selling them (with us picking up the tab!) things they don’2012-04-24 18:33:44′t need, but even more in ensuring a labor force as the effects of reproductive “choices” affect us on a macro level. Immigrants as well as large Catholic families are prime sources of the next generation of children, which is America”s greatest resource.

But it”s not enough for them to wait for a pay off on this resource (when our kids become laborers/consumers/taxpayers). They want to “program” them now, which makes things a lot easier on the back end. That explains much of the indoctrination that goes on in public schools (and before that, in daycare), as well as some of the institutional hostility to private Catholic schools and especially homeschooling families.

More on all that later. The question I”d like us to consider today is who gets our hearts, who gets our money, and who gets our kids? As much as we”d like to think so, we can”t have it both ways (cf. Mt. 6:24). May Our Lord Jesus Christ truly be the center of our lives, and may we truly give Him our best in all that we do. 

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” –Matthew 6:33

Mysteries of Light

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Even though I was raised in a large, Catholic family and received 12 years of Catholic schooling, I left the Church as an undergraduate and didn’t come back until I was in my 20s. My newly rediscovered love for Christ not only led me to study His teaching, but also to take a fresh look at traditional prayers and devotions used by Christian disciples for countless generations as aids to growth in the spiritual life.

And so I enthusiastically embraced the Rosary as the most time-tested and efficacious spiritual weapon in our arsenal after the sacred liturgy itself. Even so, it always seemed strange to me that we had an entire set of mysteries for Luke 1-2, namely the Joyful Mysteries, and then we had to jump to Luke 22 for the Agony in the Garden, the first Sorrowful Mystery. It seemed to me that Luke 3, Luke 4, Luke 5, and so on, up to Luke 22, also contained much solid meat for contemplation. Therefore, I heartily welcomed Pope John Paul II’s introduction of the Luminous Mysteries as a means of encouraging the faithful to prayerfully contemplate Christ’s public ministry.

Love for the Church

Luminous Mysteries: Biblical Reflections on the Life of ChristEach of the Luminous Mysteries is inexhaustibly rich, and so I recommend obtaining good meditation guides and reflections on the new mysteries to help plumb their depths. In particular, I recommend Tim Gray’s Bible study entitled Luminous Mysteries: Biblical Reflections on the Life of Christ, with a foreword by Archbishop (and soon to be Cardinal!) Raymond L. Burke. This dynamic study is available at

Today, however, I would like to briefly mention two refrains that run through all the Luminous Mysteries that I think are extremely important for Catholic laity today. [more]

The first refrain is “love for the Church.” We live at a time when many people are to some extent open to Jesus Christ, but want nothing to do with His Church. So what has the Pope done? He has encouraged us, by means of the Luminous Mysteries, to contemplate the public ministry of Christ. What was at the heart of this ministry? Nothing other than the proclamation of the kingdom of God–that it was “at hand.” Well, was it or not? And if it was, where did it go? About a century ago, French heretic Alfred Loisy bemoaned that Christ promised a kingdom, and all that we got was the Church.

We joyfully respond that the Church is, in fact, the kingdom of God on earth. The Church continues, despite our own human failings and weaknesses, to bring the light of Christ to all the world. It’s no accident that the central document issued by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) on the mystery of the Church is called Lumen Gentium, or “Light of the Nations.”

The Luminous Mysteries help us to see the Church as our Mother (cf. Catechism, nos. 169, 507), and not as a merely human institution or an outside force that’s imposing arbitrary rules on us. Now more than ever, especially given the horrible scandals that have afflicted the Church in this country, we need to affirm–to proclaim from the rooftops–our love for the Church!

Do Whatever He Tells You

The other refrain running through the Luminous Mysteries is the virtue of obedience. Of the new mysteries, the one that I gravitate toward is the Wedding at Cana. Mary’s simple words are striking and still ring out today: “Do whatever Jesus tells you.” This message calls forth our obedience. This theme runs through the other mysteries as well. The proclamation of the kingdom calls forth from us an “obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5). In the Transfiguration, Our Heavenly Father declares, “This is my beloved son . . . listen to him” (Mt. 17:5). Even in the Institution of the Eucharist, the Church is commanded to “do this in memory of me” (Lk. 22:19). In fact, Jesus bluntly tells us that if we don’t “do this,” we have no life in us (cf. Jn. 6:53). So Our Lord means business. We need to do what He tells us.

Perhaps it would be easier if Jesus were in our midst telling us things to do. And yet, even though He no longer walks the earth, He does speak to us through His Church, and notably through the successors of Peter and the other apostles. Jesus says if we hear and obey them, we hear and obey Him (cf. Lk. 10:16). And further, if we hear and obey Our Lord, then we are also obeying Our Blessed Mother, who lovingly exhorts us to do whatever He tells us.

Many contemporary problems are rooted in disobedience to authority in the home, in society, and in the Church. Disobedience and dissent wreak havoc. Those in authority surely have contributed to the problem, but obedience is our virtue, not their virtue. Let me explain.

My daughter Brenda’s favorite verse (she quotes it for me all the time) is Colossians 3:21: “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Fair enough, I will be judged on this verse and similar verses, as will priests and bishops–our spiritual fathers. I’ve encountered many Catholics who are angry, provoked, or discouraged, and those who so alienate the faithful will be held strictly accountable by the Lord.

But I’m still ready for Brenda when she playfully cites her verse, as I counter with the preceding verse: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Those in authority will be judged on how they exercise their authority. We, on the other hand, will be judged according to how we obey legitimate authority.

Only God’s authority is limitless. Surely we’re not bound to follow laws or directives that are immoral or which go beyond the scope of one’s authority. But in general, our disposition toward Church authority should be one of respectful obedience. We must encourage our children to do whatever Jesus tells them and to hear the Good Shepherd’s voice coming from His Church.

Catholic News and Notes

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

For your edification, here are links to some noteworthy Catholic news items that I”ve come across this week:

Woman of Leisure For those who were interested in my recent post on the connection between workaholism and sloth, this interesting article by Anthony Esolen goes even deeper. 

NY bishops give priority to life issues The New York bishops issued an election-year statement that urges voters to put moral principles above selfish interests, and that the right to life outweighs other issues.

Different sort of suffering This news story chronicles the travails of Fr. Mark Gruber, O.S.B., a college and seminary professor who was accused of pornography-related misconduct. He was later exonerated and a student came forward and admitted that he downloaded pornographic material on Fr. Gruber”s computer. Now Father faces challenges to restore his good name and teaching position. While only God absolutely knows the truth about these things, I”ve known Fr. Gruber for a long time and thought there may be more to the story when news of the allegations first broke last year, as I always considered him a very solid priest. If in fact he is innocent, this is quite a different sort of redemptive suffering, isn”t it?  

Fr. Ciszek’s cause  I was happy to read that Father Ciszek”s cause is moving along. It”s hard to believe that it’2012-04-24 18:33:49′s now been 26 years since he entered eternal life. For many, many years he was an inmate in Soviet prisons and work camps, where despite tremendous privations and torture he heroically functioned as a priest. It”s one of the most compelling stories of the 20th century–and it”s true! For more on his story, check out With God in Russia or He Leadeth Me.

Bishop Olmsted comes to KC  We were most blessed to welcome Bishop Thomas Olmsted to Kansas City this past week, where he was the homilist for the annual “Red Mass” for those in law-related fields. One of the leading pro-life spokesmen in the country, Bishop Olmsted did not disappoint. The link to the Catholic Key blog has the text of the homily and accompanying commentary.

O Canada!  The canonization of St. Andre Bessette Okay, I”m prejudiced because he”s my cousin (albeit a very distant cousin) and he was canonized on my birthday last Sunday. But it”s always a great day when the Church officially proclaims that someone is a “saint.” These have been difficult years for the faithful in Canada, so may this celebration, and even more St. Andre”s intercession, be a catalyst for renewal for our neighbors to the north. 

Where”s the Blood?

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” This ancient Christian maxim hits home in a particular way today as we celebrate the feast of Sts. Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, and companions, commonly known as the “North American Martyrs.” I remember what an awesome and humbling experience it was to stand in the very spot in Auriesville, New York, where Rene Goupil, the first of the group to be martyred, shed his blood for Christ.

Yet the northeastern United States and Canada, where the North American Martyrs labored so courageously for Christ in the 17th century, are hardly hotbeds of Christian faith today. What do we make of this? [more] (more…)

Musings of an Accidental Conservative

Monday, October 18th, 2010

I have long disliked the label “conservative.” I mean, there”s nothing wrong with it per se, but I”m not a political ideologue. I am a Catholic who believes what the Church teaches, and for that reason alone I”m called a “conservative.”

After reading articles this morning on the voting patterns of Catholics and whether the Catholic faith and the “Tea Party” movement are a good mix, I figured the time was ripe to give my top ten list of reasons why “liberal” and “conservative” are not useful terms when it comes to Catholic beliefs. These are in no particular order: [more]

(1) Term Limits

“Conservative” and “liberal” are already entrenched as political terms with their own specific meaning. The terms are necessarily adversarial and divisive when used in the context of the Church, since they imply a struggle for supremacy between two more/less equally legitimate camps. With St. Paul we might ask, “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor. 1:13). When we try to use two emotionally charged terms from one context and apply them in a completely different context, of course there will be misunderstanding exacerbated by strong emotional responses.

(2) Not in Catholic Lexicon

When we hear the terms “conservative” and “liberal” we think of political terms. They”re not also Catholic terms in a strict sense. I”ve been though all 2,865 paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church many times, and I don”t recall ever seeing those terms used. Instead, the Catholic Church has its own lexicon to describe one’2012-04-24 18:33:52′s relationship vis a vis the Church. Perhaps we should use them instead? The problem of course is that many consider themselves Americans first, and Christians or Catholics second, so they let American culture define the rules of engagement even within the Church.

(3) Radio, Radio (second Elvis Costello allusion this month, but who”s counting)

We tend to think of “liberal” and conservative” as two extremes on a continuum, sort of like a radio dial. The stations at the left side of the AM dial (in the 500s or 600s, say) would be “liberal” and the stations at the far right (1500s and 1600s) would be “conservative.” Both have a place on radio dial, though people might gravitate toward the numbers in the middle away from the two extremes, where most of the more popular stations tend to be located. Similarly, we often hear of Catholics who are 100% with the Church described as “conservative” or even “ultraconservative,” while those who dissent from the Church on hot button moral issues are called “moderate.” Maybe a Catholic who is truly a Catholic is considered a “conservative” politically, but all Catholics must be “conservative” when it comes to upholding Christian moral teaching in the public square.  What are we saying, that being “too Catholic” or “too religious” is one extreme, and being hostile to God, religion, and all public morals is the other extreme, such that the desirable middle ground is to be “sorta Catholic” or “mildly dissident”? Yet I”ve personally run into that sort of thinking many times in the Church. 

(4) Conversion

Nobody should go around calling people heretics or apostates. Yet we go way too far in the other direction. We”re not willing to speak hard truths with charity. We”re not willing to say that any position that”s conflicts with Catholic teaching on faith and morals is heresy. Instead, we call it “liberal,” which is then taken as a legitimate way of being in the Church. While most people don”t want to consider themselves heretics, many consider the “liberal” tag a badge of honor. My point here is that those who part ways with the Church should be called back into full communion. When we tolerate dissent and heresy rather than call to conversion, we are not truly loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.  

(5) Good Liberal vs. Bad Liberal

Of course part of the problem is that the terms themselves are vague and ambiguous, especially given the frequently blending of their political and ecclesial ramifications. “Liberalism” in the sense of favoring the social legitimization of evils such as abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage is an abomination for Catholics. “Liberalism” in the sense of favoring big government programs may be problematic for Catholics at times, such as when the principle of subsidiarity is violated, but it”s not quite as cut and dried (but close). And then there”s “liberalism” in the sense of the Church”s staunch defense of human dignity, which generally speaking is a very good thing (when the concept isn”t hijacked).  But in the Church, “liberal” typically equates with “dissident” or ”heterodox,” which is clearly not a good thing, yet is given cover because of its legitimacy in some political contexts. 

(6) Good Conservative vs. Bad Conservative

The Church has been entrusted the “deposit of faith” (cf. 1 Tim. 6:20), which she protects and “conserves.” She holds fast to Tradition (cf. 2 Thess. 2:15), and she”ll prevail against the ”powers of death” (cf. Mt. 16:18). So while the Church is a living organism that grows and adapts to new situations, there is no doubt a pervasive “conservative” dimension to her essential constitution. Since being a faithful, practicing, “normative” Catholic is also considered being “conservative” in a political sense, we must resist the temptation to “default” our way into uncritically accepting all aspects of political conservativism, even as we generally embrace the conservatives” approach to many issues, especially what are generally called “social issues.”

(7) This Ain”t a Democracy

It should go without saying that the Church is not a democracy. Yet the more we politicize the Church, the more weight we give to the assumption on the part of many that, in the words of the dissident “Voice of the Faithful” organization, we can “keep the faith, change the Church.” If we get enough people to show up at a town hall meeting or to sign some petition, would the Church to renounce the faith? Of course not!  So why use political terms that suggest with proper maneuvering we might be able to elect a new Pope or push through an agenda that”s fundamentally at odds with the Church? 

(8) Divine Element

Because of the political, democratic connotations of “liberal” and “conservative,” we tend to downplay the fact that Christianity is about following Christ. It”s His Church, and it”s one (and holy, Catholic, and apostolic). In politics, we”re trying to get others to side with us, or at least to vote for our candidate or issue. In the Church, it”s the other way around. It”s about God”s grace changing us, persuading us to follow Him more completely and unreservedly.

(9) Stop Thinking

Obviously in the political realm we sometimes have to speak on a macro level, and so blocs of people who tend to vote a particular way are labelled as such. Yet I think we should resist labelling and resist being labelled as much as possible in the Church. It”s an excuse to stop thinking, or even to write off somebody without really knowing them. When someone is identified as a “liberal” Catholic by a “conservative” Catholic, or vice versa, then we”re institutionalizing division and dissent within the Church, and wounding her witness to the world.

(10) Communion, not Class Struggle

The key term in understanding the Catholic Church is “communion,” as through God”s grace centuries of strife and division are overcome in the person of Christ, in whom we truly become brothers and sisters. In our largely secular society, many people consider themselves “Catholic” but really don”t fully identify with or participate in the life of the Church. Then there are others who stay in the Church to reform her in their own image. Rather than see in all this chaos some sort of class struggle between the so-called “liberals” and “conservatives,” we should perceive a call to foster both the visible and invisible bonds of unity within the Church (see Catechism, no. 815; there is also a wonderful discussion in Pope John Paul II”s encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, nos. 35 and following). 

In other words, we must be better Catholics and build better Catholics. Without the conviction of faith, then it”s only about tactics.      

Getting Personal

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Our Lord Jesus Christ calls each one of us to an intimate, personal relationship with Him. Unfortunately, some Catholics are uncomfortable with this “personal relationship” terminology.

Yet Christianity is not a mere moral code, ethnic club, or cultural phenomenon. Nor is it about rooting for Notre Dame instead of big, bad secular colleges on Saturday afternoon.

Rather, at its very core is the acceptance of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as our personal Lord and Savior. He saves us as His family, the Church, but He does so by saving each one of us personally. [more]

As we take positive steps to nurture this personal relationship, we must continually return to this fundamental point: It is God who initiates the relationship. God has first loved us, and our vocation is to respond to that love. And God does not merely initiate the relationship; He goes looking for us! That’s what the Incarnation–the Word becoming flesh–is all about.

This awesome truth helps us to see the Eucharist in a new light. Before we enter God’s world as His beloved children, He first enters ours. Since the pre-eminent way that God remains in our world is through the Holy Eucharist, then the Eucharist must give us important clues as to why Christ assumed human nature in the first place (see Catechism, nos. 456-60). The Eucharist points not so much to God’s “inaccessible transcendence” so much as it does to His “divine condescension.” The Eucharist is about God coming to us.

Our Heavenly Father has willed our existence from all eternity, called each one of us by name, and prepared a place for each one of us in heaven. While we remain free to accept or reject His gifts, He earnestly desires our salvation.

Now, what human father would give his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread (cf. Mt. 7:9)? In other words, even flawed human fathers generally strive to do right by their children. How much more has our heavenly Father taken into account our needs and desires in His plan of salvation for us. His will for us is truly “for our own good” or, as we profess more formally in the Creed, “for us men and for our salvation.”

We can see this principle at work in our Lord’s response to criticisms of His disciples who were picking heads of grain on the Sabbath. He says, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath” (Mk. 2:27). In keeping the Lord’s Day, we are not submitting to oppressive, arbitrary rules. Rather, the Lord’s Day is for our own good. Our participating in Sunday Mass and observing a day of rest corresponds with the basic human need to worship God outwardly, publicly, and regularly (see Catechism, no. 2176). It also addresses the need to put our all-consuming human endeavors in their proper context.

Similarly, Our Lord has taken the initiative with respect to the Eucharist. He gives it to us as the memorial of His suffering and death, commanding us to “do this” in His memory. He further advises us that if we don’t “do this,” then we have no life in us (see Jn. 6:53).

Our Lord assuredly does not place unnecessary stumbling blocks on the road to His Father’s house. Rather, as a God who seeks us out, who is intimately involved with the human family and who knows what’s best for us, He gives us His own Body and Blood to help us experience the salvation He won for us and to strengthen us in our Christian pilgrimage.

It is incumbent upon us, then, to thank the Lord for this sublime gift and to beg Him to increase our faith and devotion. Then we can in some way relive the “Eucharistic amazement” of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. After all, our God is truly with us.

More to the point, He is with you, and He is with me.