As Franciscans, we are called to be peacemakers and to engage actively in public life in harmony with our faith. On Monday November 7th, 2022 Franciscan Action Network hosted a special prayer vigil on the eve of midterm elections. We prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide our country as well as our individual participation in the democratic process during and after the elections. The recording can be found on our YouTube channel.
The prayers that were offered are listed in each expandable section below.
Luke 10: 25 - 37
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”
The man answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But the man wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
“Other Folks’ Shoes” by Jim Crosby
You Tube Link: https://youtu.be/3X5bK9AyBGk
(15.) “Today, in many countries, hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools. Employing a strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism, in a variety of ways one denies the right of others to exist or to have an opinion. Their share of the truth and their values are rejected and, as a result, the life of society is impoverished and subjected to the hubris of the powerful. Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others. In this craven exchange of charges and counter-charges, debate degenerates into a permanent state of disagreement and confrontation.
(16.) Amid the fray of conflicting interests, where victory consists in eliminating one’s opponents, how is it possible to raise our sights to recognize our neighbors or to help those who have fallen along the way? A plan that would set great goals for the development of our entire human family nowadays sounds like madness. We are growing ever more distant from one another, while the slow and demanding march towards an increasingly united and just world is suffering a new and dramatic setback.
(17.) To care for the world in which we live means to care for ourselves. Yet we need to think of ourselves more and more as a single family dwelling in a common home. Such care does not interest those economic powers that demand quick profits. Often the voices raised in defense of the environment are silenced or ridiculed, using apparently reasonable arguments that are merely a screen for special interests. In this shallow, short-sighted culture that we have created, bereft of a shared vision, ‘it is foreseeable that, once certain resources have been depleted, the scene will be set for new wars, albeit under the guise of noble claims.’”
A Prayer for Reconciliation
A Prayer for Reconciliation by Pádraig Ó Tuama
Where there is separation
there is pain.
And where there is pain
there is story.
And where there is story
there is understanding
and not listening.
May we — separated peoples, estranged strangers,
unfriended families, divided communities —
turn toward each other,
and turn toward our stories,
with argument and acceptance,
with challenge, change
Because if God is to be found,
God will be found
in the space
"Open my eyes Lord” by Jesse Manibusan
Good and gracious God as our nation prepares to conclude this year’s cycle of voting for the US Congress and many other offices and questions, we call upon you to hear our pleas:
We pray that every eligible voter who wishes to vote will be able to freely and fairly cast their ballot without interference or duress.
We pray that the polls will be safe places for voters and poll workers alike to conduct voting that is efficient and free from intimidation or error.
We pray that government officials will carry out all counting with accuracy and fairness, including all eligible votes.
We pray that voters will hear the call of the Gospel and will see all of humanity as their neighbors and will act with love and care like the Good Samaritan.
We pray that all those elected to office will heed the advice of Pope Francis and will work for laws and policies that promote a just society rooted in the common good.
We pray for the earth, our common home, and that all voters and officials will support policies that care for God’s beautiful creation.
We pray for our nation, that whatever the outcomes of this election may be, we may be able to live in peace and harmony committed to care for one another.
We pray that as Franciscans and Franciscan-hearted individuals, we will live up to our calling to play our proper role as citizens and to uphold the dignity of all, including those with whom we disagree.
“The Hill we Climb” by Amanda Gorman
We are striving to forge a union with purpose,
to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and
conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew;
that even as we hurt, we hoped;
that even as we tired, we tried;
that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious,
not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time
then victory won’t lie in the blade
but in all the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb
if only we dare it,
because being American is more than a pride we inherit —
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth,
in this faith we trust,
for while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
Prayer for our Government by John Carroll
We pray O God of might, wisdom and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with your Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the president of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness and be eminently useful to your people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.
Let the light of your divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.
We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by your powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.
We recommend likewise, to your unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of your most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.
“I’m gonna lift my sister up” performed by First Unitarian Quartet
You Tube Link: https://youtu.be/NF07zmNQh6A
Sending Forth Blessings offered by Fr. James Gannon, OFM
A Blessing Prayer Before Our Election
FJ: Lord God, Creator of the Universe, as our election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our country and our world, and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.
ALL: We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as sisters and brothers,
one and equal in dignity, especially those who are victims of abuse, hatred, violence, deceit and poverty.
FJ: We ask for ears that will hear the cries of all your children, those abandoned men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
ALL: We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment so that we may choose leaders who:
• Hear your Word,
• Who live your love,
• and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
FJ: We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
+++ May God Bless us ++++