Forgive me if I have written this before in my blog. I remember it was a chilly early November Sunday morning when I was to meet my fourth and fifth grade catechism class at a semi-rural church here in Ohio. The parish was fairly upper class and the children bright and eager to learn about their faith. One little boy, especially precocious, approached me with a pamphlet from a local non-Catholic church and said his mother would like to know what I thought of an announcement she had circled inside. She said I could keep the document. This was in 1960 when the presidential candidates were John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. I was immediately stunned by the announcement which read: “Do not vote for John Kennedy. If he wins, the Pope will run our government.”
I remember discussing this with the boy, but I do not recall how the boy’s mother got hold of the pamphlet and in those days a teacher just didn’t call a parent to inquire of such things, especially as she had told the boy I could keep it. Worse yet, I do not know how I lost that publication but in my many subsequent moves from one assignment to another, the pamphlet got lost. One thing is certain, though, I never forgot the quote, word-for-word. When I taught college students many years later, they held a remarkably naïve point of view that bigotry, bias, and prejudice just didn’t exist in our electoral system. When I would tell them of this experience, I had no proof, so I had them interview candidates of different cultures, religions, and ethnicities. The roster of diverse candidates was just growing at that time, the 80’s and 90’s, and what the students learned was that racism and prejudice was still very much alive. What was becoming overt in my young days, became more overt and volatile in my students’ days to downright systematically and violently evil today.
Last week, armed people declared themselves protectors of the vote at some Arizona stations collecting mail-in ballots. We do not need this, said President Biden, “this is not America.” Many officials are concerned that tomorrow, Tuesday, voting day in America, may become another tragic day in our exercise of democracy. Reputable scholars of law and history are warning us to be aware that our democracy is on-the-line. From all I read and learn in discussions, the Ship of State is perilously taking on the hungry broiling of a sea in turmoil.
I’m sure many of you were able to help in this election season. Maybe you volunteered to drive people to the polls, or you went to meetings with candidates or critiqued them in televised speeches. Maybe you explained issues or candidate backgrounds to those who sought you out for guidance. Maybe you read about the issues and candidates from reputable sources so you could make intelligent and informed decisions. Maybe you are even volunteering to serve at voting precincts on the day itself. But one thing each of us can and should do is pray. Pray for non-violence. Pray for the safety of everyone involved in campaigning and voting and working at the polls.
I suggest a few prayer practices for the day:
- Spend a few minutes in prayer when you get up in the morning. I’m attaching a prayer here you might want to use. Do this in silence.
- If you can attend Mass, do so. Or attend through live streaming from your parish.
- In the afternoon, check what is happening in local and national results. Do not angrily ignore the updates; they may need more attentive prayer.
- Before retiring, ask God’s blessing on the results. Recite the following prayer no matter what the results are.
Prayer For Elections
Loving God, help us all who vote this day. Keep us safe. Keep our vote safe. Be with all involved so we may achieve only goodness in serving the needs of our people through this election.
Prayer After Elections
Loving God, may all who were elected see their role as a servant to your people. May they read Your Guidance in Scripture, prayer, and the faith documents of their religions. May they evolve further into the noble and faith-centered servants they need to be in living their vocation.
I do not recall President Nixon challenging President Kennedy’s razor-thin victory. There was no social media, no multiple news outlets, or television cable and maybe that helped cool resistance and certainly violence. But today we have those challenges, so we need to be wiser and holier as we approach elections. We need to treat voting for what Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, the late President of Notre Dame University called it, “…a civic sacrament.”
Thank you! You are such a great resource for all of us! I hope we can visit at the end of December – maybe on your birthday, I will be in Ohio for a week or so. Thank you, take care, Margi
Thanks Marge! We need to be courageous Americans now, not belligerent ones. And, you’re reminding me I may be getting older!!!
Thank you so much for calling everyone to pray for the election. Our country is under severe attack from Satan, and only prayer can help. St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us and fight for us!
Sister, we needed these words, thank you.