by Fr. Stanley Smolenski
After the Twin Tower disaster in New York, the theme "God bless America" became very popular, but few pay attention to the fact that that is only the first half of the equation. The other half is just as important: America bless God. A Catholic psychiatrist asked a priest what should he do with the terrible condition of our culture and society today, retire to a desert?
Can America be saved? Will America be converted? At this time it seems our country is suffering something similar to anorexia, where people slowly starve themselves to death. There comes a point, it is said, where should even the person want to take food, the biological system rejects it. It is beyond repair. So too, it seems, that our culture is getting to that point in its rejection of truth. Our society is redefining the person, marriage and family to suit its sinful ways. By such redefining, evil is justified because the definition now conforms to man's will, not God's.
At Fatima our Lady said that here will be lifestyles objectionable to God and that nations will be annihilated. Will God just let evil take its course until that disaster occurs, because our social and cultural system has come to the point of no return? That seems to have been the reason for the universal flood as explained in the story of Noah. And the great miracle of October 13, 1917 at Fatima seems to be patterned after that episode in Genesis 6-9. There was the drenching rain, the colors of the rainbow, a threatening disaster (the dancing sun), and total renewal as a result. Is that the only solution? Why is it we do not learn from history?
It is bewildering how Germany, which is so predominantly Christian, both Catholic and Protestant, could have had such a leader as Hitler. Then there is Russia with its national Orthodox Church becoming the home of militantly atheistic soviet communism. And what about Italy with its history of Catholic saints producing a Mussolini as spokesman for his people. And presently in our own country, how could a New England state 40% Catholic with a 40% Catholic legislature have among the most liberal abortion laws in America?
We hear so much about cultural and moral crises described by some as unprecedented in history. This is true both in private and public life as the natural family is shattered and the Great-Roman and Judeo-Christian bases of our values are eradicated in education and law.
This dilemma was the subject of a book "The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion" by Stephen I. Carter of Yale Law School. He points out: "In our sensible zeal to keep religion from dominating our politics, we have created a political and legal culture that presses the religiously faithful to be other than themselves, to act publicly, and sometimes privately as well, as though their faith does not matter to them."
It seems beyond ordinary human strength and intelligence to bring about a resolution of these private and public ills.
Yet scripture tells us clearly of spiritual means to use in such predicaments. Could the reason for this deteriorating condition be that the word of God has not been heeded in this regard? Let us see what St. Paul says to us in 1 Timothy 2:2-5:
"I urge, then, first of all that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be offered for everyone, for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live peaceful and quiet lives with all devotion and propriety. To do this is right, and acceptable to God our Savior, he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of truth. ... In every place, then, I want men to life up their hands reverently. ..."
Let us remember that scripture is inspired by God and expressed God's will. Although St. Paul wrote the above, it is the Holy Spirit who speaks to us through him. Thus it is the Holy Spirit who directs Christians to pray explicitly for our governments.
Further, in Ephesians 4:30 St. Paul admonished the Christians: "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit!" The Holy Spirit is grieved when he is not heeded, not obeyed. Obviously we grieve the Holy Spirit when we do not cooperate with him in recommending our social civil life to God by prayer.
Besides the voice of Scripture, there is the witness of prophecy in our times. St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out, that the purpose of prophecy is to lead to specific action necessary at a particular time for a special need..
It is reported that shortly before her death Blessed Jacinta of Fatima received information from Our Lady to be given to her spiritual director, Fr. Manuel Formigao, informing him of an impending chastisement of Portugal for its sins. Reparation was called forth in terms of prayers, penances and good works. The diary of St. Faustina has frequent references to similar incidents in regard to her native land, Poland. St. Padre Pio wrote to his spiritual director about Italy ignoring God's appeals of love and that wold lead them into war. Nor should we ignore the third part of the Secret of Fatima, made public by the Pope on the occasion of the beatification of the two seers, Jacinta and her brother Francisco. It included an angel of justice who was restrained by the prayers of the 20th century martyrs. But he demanded penance from the world. Mary's interest in the well-being of nations is shown by her Fatima request for the collegial acts of consecration of atheistic Russia to her Immaculate Heart, with the promise of converting that people.
If a small internationally insignificant country in the 1920's such as Portugal, and Poland, attacked simultaneously in the est by Nazi Germany and in the east by Communist Russia to begin World war II, were in need of reparation, what about the need of the USA as it leads internationally today in technology, economics, politics and entertainment? Our news media inform us daily of the social decline as the spirit of amorality increases in public life.
In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1380 quotes Pope John Paul II, stating the need for "making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world." And since each of the fifty states is part of that world, each state needs to do reparation for its sins. Therefore reparation is imperative if our nation is to survive as a wholesome people, with leaders in the spiritual as well as in the material realm.
Scripture gives us the divine view of the world's difficulties and St. Paul reveals the true opposition, seen only by faith, in Ephesians 6:10-18:
"Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our battle is not against human forces but against principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above. You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground. Stand fast. ... At every opportunity pray in the Spirit, using prayers and petitions of every sort. Pray constantly and attentively for all in the hoy company."
Therefore, spiritual forces must be activated together with the civil if the entire situation is to be faced completely and addressed properly.
Many say that all politics is local, that the question for most voters is who can best represent our state, that local politics is determinative. That would mean that local "spiritual forces have to be set in motion as well as the national. As some advocate: "Think globally, act locally."
Some politicians need our prayers more than votes
If that is so then why not have a movement of prayer in keeping with the biblical admonition to pray for those in authority? As one person responded to a newspaper article about Catholics in political office whose position are in conflict with the morality of the Church, "This gentleman needs our prayers more than our votes," because conversion comes only through the enlightening grace of Christ.
As for the question "Who can best represent our state?" in the spiritual realm, the answer must be that Mary is that person before the throne of her divine Son.
As the official patroness of the USA under the title of the Immaculate Conception, our Lady has a deep concern for each and every State in the union. Are we to ignore or neglect that fact? Would that not grieve the Holy Spirit who sanctifies her?
It is in that perspective that this prayer movement for the well-being of private and public life in our Church and each State is presented, and hopefully, accepted, promoted, and implemented.
Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God and Mother of the Church, is invoked as Turrets Davidica. The Tower of David is in reference to the impregnable armory in Jerusalem. The image is that of a woman of strength, participating in the defeat of the archenemy of her son's kingdom, that is, Satan, according to Genesis 3:15. Revelations 12 describes the great battle between the Woman and the Dragon, frequently interpreted in liturgy as signifying Mary, as image of the Church confronting demonic forces.
The Holy Spirit again says, this time through St. James 3:16: "The fervent pray of a holy person is powerful indeed." Since Mary has found favor with God (Luke 1:30) we believe in her intercessory power with Christ is unique in the communion of saints.
Should not her Rosary be our defensive and offensive weapon? It has proven itself powerful from the battle of Lepanto, in the past, to the liberation of Austria from soviet forces, and the peaceful transition in the Philippines more recently. The five decades of each set of 20 mysteries are a convenient way to recall the various sections of ecclesial, social and civil life. In our daily struggle for what is right and good according to God's will, we should keep in mind two biblical directives: "Beware of saying in your heart, my own strength, and the might of my own hand won this power for me." (Deuteronomy 8:17) and as Psalm 127,1 recalls: "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain."
The series of Rosary intentions below gives witness to our faith in Christ, our joyful hope in his holy Mother and our love for God and our country.
|Joyful Mysteries:||For the Government of our State|
|Visitation||Legislative Branch (Just Laws)|
|Birth of Jesus||Judicial Branch|
|Finding of Jesus||State House of Representatives|
|Luminous Mysteries:||For all people in our State|
|Baptism of Jesus||Atheists and Pagans|
|Cana Wedding||Muslim and Jews|
|Proclamation||Opponents and Adversaries of the Kingdom|
|Transfiguration||Protestants and Orthodox|
|Inst. of Eucharist||Catholics/ especially the unfaithful|
|Sorrowful Mysteries:||Reparation for Sins in our State|
|Agony of Jesus||Against God|
|Crowning with Thorns||The State|
|Carrying the Cross||The Family|
|Glorious Mysteries:||For the Church in our State|