It’s a familiar feeling, isn’t it? You pull the newspaper out of its plastic bag and the headlines pummel you like a sock to the gut. You keep reading and the feeling of disbelief, disgust, or despair wash over you. The news online impels you to keep clicking on one bad story after another, maybe prompting a Facebook post or maybe just settling into a feeling of sadness in your chest. The nightly news has you answering back to the anchors and pundits. You feel informed and you feel sick.

So what’s a mom supposed to do?

First, of course, we have a duty to pray for our country and our leaders, that they respect the laws that God’s given us and for true humility and clarity of mind. In a homily given at morning Mass at Santa Maria on September 16 of this past year, Pope Francis said:

“A good Catholic doesn’t meddle in politics.” That’s not true. That is not a good path. A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern. But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer! That’s what Paul says: “Pray for all people, and for the king and for all in authority.”

In the face of bad news it’s easy to forget to pray for our leaders or to feel tempted that our prayers won’t do any good anyway. We can help stave off that temptation, though, by taking our Holy Father’s lead and joining him in prayer for the leaders of this world.

So we pray. But ought we to do anything else? According to Pope Francis: if we can.

At that same Mass he also said:

None of us can say, “I have nothing to do with this, they govern. . . .” No, no, I am responsible for their governance, and I have to do the best so that they govern well, and I have to do my best by participating in politics according to my ability. Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good. I cannot wash my hands, eh? We all have to give something!

I have four small people under the age of seven. My ability to participate in politics is limited, to say the least. I can, though, contact my representatives to let them know what issues are deeply important to my family and me.

This weekend my parish will be participating in the USCCB Project Life and Liberty postcard campaign. Parishioners will have the opportunity to fill out postcards to their U.S. senators and representative that request that they not promote or fund abortion policies and that they uphold the rights to conscience protection. Read more about the campaign here and how your parish can get involved.

So I will meddle. I am a mom, after all. That’s what I’m good at.

Copyright 2014 Meg Matenaer