Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Prayer for My Country ~ Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Mary's Immaculate Conception: that she was without sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, Anna. And how are we to respond to this? We don't say, Well now, let me think this one through. Rather, from a hushed and awed inner place I understand: the heart has its reasons. 

The dogma says that Mary remained sinless by the pre-conceived merits of Christ's dying and rising. Sounds like God's love is so attentive and generously kind that God anticipates what Mary needs, so to be a kind of heaven-on-earth for God's entrance into our world in disarray. Maybe this is why Mary stands on the crescent moon in any image of the Immaculate Conception: God's anticipatory love revealed in Mary's conception is simply over the moon!

And at the Council of Baltimore in 1846, the United States was placed under the Patronage of the Immaculate Conception. We're not alone in that dedication, other countries do as well: like Argentina, Korea, Brazil, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, and Uruguay. Even the Quran says that Mary was always wrapped in a veil so that evil never touched her. And why not?

Here is a prayer for the nation on its patronal feast day. The prayer isn't a weapon for culture warriors but rather a prayer for the national heart. And hearts ~ whether that of the individual, or the family, or the Church, or the nation ~ always need turning, en-gracing, en-lightening. 

I invoke the Conception of Mary
upon the nation's families ~ in great diversity and need
upon the nation's children ~ safety and growth
upon the mothers and fathers ~ goodness and patient love.

I invoke the Nativity of Mary
against the menace of terrorists
against the spirit of arrogance and cynicism
against the spirit of prejudice and hate.

I invoke the laughter of the infant Mary
heal our culture of death
heal our spirit of idolatry
heal our addictions and pathologies.

I invoke the bright gaze of the child Mary
against the spirit of negativity and contention
against the spirit of bitter polarizations
against the spirit of globe-destroying wars.

I invoke Mary's Yes before the revering angel
Yes, to people over things
Yes, to our God-given paradise-world
Yes, to compassion and kindness.

I invoke the Mother-love of the Virgin Mary
against dangerous and dark secrets
against entitlement and greed
against blood money which destroys.

I invoke the protection of Mary's mantle
against calamities and disasters
against a lack of introspection
against all that keeps us from being deeply human.


Father Stephen P. Morris


  1. We turn to Mary in these troubled times, entrusting her to hold our prayers and direct them where needed. I invoke the Blessed Mother to ward off my despair so that I may be of more usefulness.

  2. Good insight. Folks will see your comment here and identify with it personally. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It is difficult to take all of this on faith, yet we do. If I stop to think too long about my belief in God and Mary and the saints, my resolve falters and I begin to doubt their existence. It scares me to have such thoughts of my weakness. I know I should be stronger in my faith beliefs. The seeds have been planted but the roots are not strong.

  4. I don't use the word "should" - it simply isn't helpful. All I know is that I want my heart to be awake to these things. I want to present myself to God and come to God from that inner place of mindfulness, compassion and love. That's all that matters.

    1. Amen to that! You're the best Father Stephen. You make me feel more connected to my faith.

  5. Thanks for following the post. These are difficult times: that we would stay awake!

  6. Mary, may all who seek your help experience your unfailing protection. Amen.

  7. I invoke Mary, Mother of Jesus to restore hope, love and peace, this Christmas. Pretty painting of Mary!