When I preside at the Eucharist, I usually add a few extra words to the official prayers. For example, in Eucharistic Prayers 2 and 3, in the remembrance of the dead, I always add “especially those who are dear to us.” In the prayer after the Our Father, instead of praying God to “grant us peace in our day” I change it to “grant us peace in our world, our country, our Church.” Ya hafta admit that those areas of our life are much in need of the gift of peace.
It’s this peace which is really on my mind these days. A visitor from outer space would look at our country, our world, our churches and wonder “What in the name of Tookieflukie (that’s the name of their god) is wrong with these people?!?!”
And here comes St. Paul in Sunday’s Second Reading: “I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior…. It is my wish, then, that in every place the men (and women!!)should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.”
Folks, we badly need to pray for the conversion of our Church and our country. We’re at each other’s throats day in and day out. It’s such a terrible – and I would say sinful – waste of time given the pressing problems we face. Last week a poll said that 57% of Americans believe our country is in decline. Well duh….sure it is. That’s a direct result of the anger and the divisive arguments that characterize public discourse and private conversation these days.
So instead of cursing the President and either party of Congress, why not pray for them? Instead of tuning out our religious leaders, why not pray for them? Instead of wishing evil upon all Muslims, why not pray for them (and it would also help to remember that American Muslims are today facing the same animosity that we Catholics were in the 1850’s and 1920’s). A maxim of spirituality says that you cannot hate those for whom you pray (unless the “prayer” itself is hateful, and then it’s not prayer at all). Instead of opting out of civil or parish involvement, why not find a quiet little corner somewhere and do what you can to make a difference?
Who doesn’t want a quiet and tranquil life! So let’s pray and work without anger or argument!
Much love…many prayers!
Fr Herb, C.S.C.