Friday, July 5, 2024

America: Prayer and the “Power of Love”

We had a perfect view of the town fireworks display from the back deck of the house that my son and his family bought at the beginning of this year. 
The United States of America has been an independent nation for nearly 250 years. The “Semiquincentennial” anniversary will in fact take place in 2026 —a year that once seemed quite remote, especially for those of us who remember the national celebrations of the “Bicentennial” in 1976.

For the whole length of my lifetime, my country has possessed more material power and prosperity than any society in the history of the human race. There are many ways in which this power has been used for the common good of the people of the U.S.A. and of the whole world. But we cannot deny that it has also been used to make entrenched problems worse and to help create a host of new ones that continue to grow.

Whatever political or social activities Americans take up in the coming months (and beyond), we really—desperately—need to pray for our country. Our material wealth is useless to us if we forget God, if we fail to beg Him for the wisdom and love that alone will enable us to use all He has entrusted to us for the proper realization of the good, and in service to the common needs of our interdependent world, especially in those places where poverty and violence cause so much suffering.

With God is the only true power: the power of love. Only God can give us hearts capable of measuring wisely and using well our material power in the service of works of mercy. Prayer and works of mercy are essential, especially for a nation that has been given so much. Prayer and works of mercy will bring healing to our country, and make us exemplary for the whole world.

Below is one of Collect Prayers that are optional for Catholic liturgical prayer on Independence Day.

Father of all nations and ages,
we recall the day when our country
claimed its place among the family of nations;
for what has been achieved we give you thanks,
for the work that still remains we ask your help,
and as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation,
grant that, under your providence,
our country may share your blessings
with all the peoples of the earth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.