How to Pray for the Nation

Got this from reader Alexandra, and thought it was such incredibly simple (but profound) advice, that I had to share it. It really humbled and instructed me:

. . .when the Bush-Gore recount battle was going on, I asked my parish priest, a very wise man who loves Christ, how to discern God’s will. I wasn’t asking so much for his opinion on the politics of the day but when I am in one of these political battles and a religious person, can I discern God’s will in the course of trying to decide whether I should write letters, call my Congressperson, or whatever?

His simple answer was “God’s will will always be for the salvation of the individual involved.”

So I try every day now to pray for the salvation of the president, all members of Congress, and the American people. I cast my cares upon the Lord.

We are in a deeper battle here, which you well know . . . I also think in the end this all has to do with the salvation of souls, including the souls of our president and these politicians who deign to rule over the rest of us. I think we who believe must hold fast to Christ, the True Center, and bring as many along with us as possible.

Yes. How perfectly right. God’s will will always be for the salvation of the individual involved. And it follows that the salvation of the individual involved will lie in that individual’s conforming him/herself to the Word and Will of God.

Chew on that, for a while.

While you’re chewing, also take a gander at Deacon Greg’s excellent homily for the Fifth Sunday of Lent. It’s a great reflection of the woman caught in adultery, the compassion and justice of Christ, resolve, penance and the nature of gratitude.

Christ’s final command to the woman is so simple, so direct. Go, he says. Begin. Leave this place. Set out on your journey. Go.

He could have ended with that. But he didn’t. What follows are words we are meant to carry in our hearts as we turn our gaze toward Calvary. They are words of mercy. Words of compassion. Words of grace in a world where grace is so often in short supply.

So…To anyone living with a painful past… to anyone who struggles with remorse and regret….to those who feel they have done something unforgivable…take heart. We can begin again. The words of the gospel remind us that God wants to give us another chance. For some of us, it may be a second chance – for others, a 22nd. But it begins with making a choice, taking that first step. Are we able to do it?

Of all the words in the gospel that we have heard over these last four weeks, these may be the ones that matter the most. They are the great legacy of Lent.

Go, Jesus says. And from now on, do not sin anymore.

He certainly has a way with words, doesn’t he? I can’t believe he’s not Irish.

Tonight my husband and I watched The Stoning of Soraya M; very disturbing film, with many parallels to Christ’s contrived trial and murder. I recommend it for Lenten viewing, for many reasons. But it is not easy to watch. It is not easy to realize that mobs with no interest in a given situation can be so easily electrified. It’s not easy in many ways. And it brings home today’s Gospel reading, even more fully.

Like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden has also decided to use his religion for the purposes of political expediency. Reading that, and considering all that has passed in this nation in the last few years and the last few weeks, I am profoundly grateful for the instruction of a good priest: “God’s will will always be for the salvation of the individual involved.”

Pray for salvation. For everyone. It may be our best, most effective prayer.

We are certainly living in interesting times, aren’t we?

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About Elizabeth Scalia