Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More Thoughts from Parishioners

National Day of Prayer: May 4, 2006

I found the “Prayer for the Nation” included in our bulletin and in the Monitor article by our Bishop disturbing. Here is the prayer for anyone who missed it:

Prayer for the Nation
Oh Heavenly Father, You have made Yourself known to us as a nation by Your mighty works throughout our history. From the beginning, You have been with us through many wars and conflicts; Your right arm has saved us. We have been amazingly and graciously blessed.

Today, we confess our sin of not responding to Your right to rule in our lives and our nation. Too often we have despised and rejected Your will while imposing our own, and we are now facing the consequences of disobedience. Draw us back to Yourself, that we may return to Your ways once again. Without You we can do nothing. You have promised that if we honor You, You will once again honor this great nation. That is our fervent prayer. For Your honor and glory we pray,

It especially bothered me that this prayer came after the following sentences in our bulletin:

As our nation looks to the future, the need for prayer is great. Turmoil in the Middle East, conflict over domestic issues and continued fear over national security point the nation to the need for prayer – for our President, our leaders and Armed Forces.

What bothers me is the underlying tone that God ordains our nation and our conflicts. That God is on our side. True the prayer does confess that we do not always follow God’s will, but the real focus of the prayer seems to be to call down God’s mighty right arm to once again bring honor and glory to our nation. The source for the prayer was not given. The language of the prayer and bulletin note just seems out of tune with our Easter season and Our Lord’s nonviolent sacrifice on Golgotha and His commandment to “love one another as I have loved you”. I think having a national day of prayer is a great thing, but just what are we praying for?

So, this Thursday I will pray for my nation but these are the prayers that seem to me to be more in tune with the Easter season and gospel message. I would welcome any other suggestions or prayer contributions.

The Peace Prayer of St. Francis
by an anonymous Norman c. 1915 A.D.

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life

The United Farm Workers Prayer
By Cesar Chavez

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people’s plight.

Free me to pray for others;
For You are present in every person.

Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us,
So we can change the world.
From Fellow parishioner, Michelle PeñaComment on National Day Of Prayer

Re: National Day of Prayer
The thoughts of Michelle Pena on the National Day of Prayer and the bravery of Felipe Salinas in speaking out in his letter to Father Brum keeping true to his moral and religious convictions is what keeps me coming back to this website.

In all conflicts, both sides always proclaim God to be on their side. Can God ever be on either side when both sides kill God's greatest creation, especially children and the elderly. Man will always proclaim God to be on their side, but how many will pray for our leaders and domestic and foreign policies to be on God's side.
Arturo R. Cantu, Parishioner

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