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What Should We Pray For?

When we celebrate Mass we are praying together. What do you pray for on your own? How often do you pray?

Today, I would like to talk about two of my daily prayer intentions. If you have come to daily Mass when I am presiding, you have likely also heard me include them in the Prayers of the Faithful. (I may also have referred to them in previous blog articles.)

Here are the intentions:
– For all who hold public office, that they respect the dignity of all life from womb to tomb.
For all who hold government office, that they set aside personal ideologies, partisan politics, and popular opinion, to do what is right and just in God’s eyes.

Now, please let me explain why I include these particular intentions, starting with respecting the dignity of all life from womb to tomb. My prayers for “life in the womb” certainly have an end to abortion in mind (You may have read my article, “Biology Makes Me Pro-Life,” in January). However, it is not just about abortion. It is not enough to tell women to not have an abortion. We need to help them receive proper medical care during their pregnancy as well as food, clothing, and a place to live.

“Tomb” in my intention centers on the issue of assisted suicide (see my homily from February 8, 2020) but it is not just about telling people not to end their lives. It includes palliative care (comfort care) to help them be comfortable with proper pain management and to be present to them in their final days.

We must also realize that we are not the authors of life and thus should not use the death penalty. There is an appointed time for everything. It is for God alone to know the time for one’s death (see Ecclesiastes 3:1-2ff).

Now, I want to talk about the word “to” in “from to tomb.” If we are to truly respect the dignity of all life in the womb and near the tomb (near death), we need to respect it in all stages in between. This is known as the “Consistent Life Ethic,” consistent referring to throughout all stages of life. We need to perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy to help people in their everyday needs and to have a good life (For more on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, see my presentations, Mercy in the Sacraments and Acts of Mercy, and The Journey to Jesus: Acts of Mercy). Everyone, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity are children of God and are to be treated with dignity. Even those in prison, who forfeit some freedom because of their crimes, maintain their rights owed to all human beings. Thus, they have a right to safe housing, food, clothing, and proper medical care.

I offered this intention in the form of for our public officials. Actually, it is something we need to pray for everyone, not just public officials.

Now, I turn to the second intention, “For all who hold government office, that they set aside personal ideologies, partisan politics, and popular opinion, to do what is right and just in God’s eyes.”

“Personal ideologies” – we all have our own opinions but we should not think any one of us alone has all the answers. I am not all-knowing and neither is any other ordinary human being. God is. I don’t teach or write to offer my opinion. I do this to help lead us all to know God’s Will and to do it. (Please pray that I always do this and not my own will). We can have our own opinions but in the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for God’s Will to be done, not your will or my will, and not any government official’s will. It is God’s Will we seek.

Some may be surprised that I pray for them (and us) to set aside popular opinion. Aren’t we a democratic society? Yes, but that doesn’t mean the majority opinion is right just because it is a majority (if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?). Again, God is the one who is all-knowing. We need to allow God to form our consciences (see my article, “Do We Listen to Our Conscience?”). Only when we all do God’ Will does popular opinion become right and just. (See Deuteronomy 4:1-8.)

Lastly, what about partisan politics? First, let me say I speak here about any political party. I do not want to be political in any way. That being said, there are times when someone says that if you belong to a particular political party, you need to always vote with that party. How is this any different in the days of anti-Catholicism where people feared that if a Catholic were elected to public office, that they wouldn’t vote like an American? Instead, it was feared that they would simply do whatever the Pope said. One’s membership in a political party may give us insight to where they stand on an issue but it should not determine their beliefs or the way they vote. God is the one who determines what is right and just.

So, let us pray for all, including ourselves, but especially our government officials, to respect the dignity of all life from womb to tomb and set aside personal ideologies, partisan politics, and popular opinion, to do what is right and just in God’s eyes.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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