In itself, politics is a noble thing. But in the real world, it is messy and sometimes dangerous.
God calls certain Catholic men and women to enter political life to serve the common good and help build a just society. St. Thomas More is probably the most famous example of a truly Catholic politician.
Maybe you’re wondering if you have a vocation to political life. If so, here are a few things to keep in mind as you discern this path.
1. You may be persecuted for your beliefs
Let’s face it, we live in a culture that’s hostile to anyone who’s pro-life and defends the truth about marriage and gender. We’ve seen people lose their jobs for not jumping on the LGBTQ+ train.
If you believe you can enter politics as a faithful Catholic and be loved by all, think again. You need to expect to be mocked and harassed and perhaps receive death threats.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enter politics. Jesus said that those who adhere to His teachings would be persecuted. That’s just part of following Christ in a fallen world.
The question is whether you have the guts to stand strong while others try to knock you down. Think hard on this.
2. You’ll be tempted to compromise where you shouldn’t
Don’t underestimate the power of political success. Once you find it, you may never want to lose it.
Although you have to compromise in some areas in politics, watch out for the temptation to abandon your essential values in order to stay popular.
3. You’ll need God’s grace more than ever to stand strong
To develop the spiritual and moral strength you’ll need for political life, it’s essential that you maintain a strong prayer and sacramental life. God’s grace alone will carry you through the trials you’ll face.
To do this, plan to attend Mass each Sunday — or daily, if possible. Go to confession at least once a month. Spend time praying to our Lord in Eucharistic Adoration.
As a public servant, you’ll need a heart for the poor and abandoned. Give to charities and volunteer with some. While there can be legitimate disagreements on how to best help the poor, one thing is certain: Any politician who neglects the poor is unworthy of their office.
Plato said the “state is the individual writ large.” The political landscape can only improve if individuals improve. As a Catholic, the greatest contribution you can make to society is to try to be a better person yourself. That will also give you the strength to weather the headwinds should God call you to enter into political life.