Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Blessing Prayer for My Country

These nineteen months have been a terrible political time for many people in the United States: fights for domination, failing fact-checks, demonization, threats, arrogance, dirty-ness, false promises, self-betrayal, pandering, superficiality, manipulation, even violence. Priests hear a lot: I am not alone in feeling we have gone off into darkness.

But I don't like staying stuck in bitterness, so I created this Prayer for My Country - imagining that (like St. Joseph Cupertino) I can fly. But in my day-dream I fly beyond the church ceiling, up and into space, and there, hovering, I pray blessings over the nation.

The community of Trinity be yours.
The Father's imagination be yours.
Christ's countenance,
Holy Spirit's life-breath be yours.

Gabriel's All-Hail be yours.
Anna's, Who am I? be yours.
Heaven's good-will angels,
Magi's guiding star be yours.

The Salvation-bearing hand of Christ be yours.
The dignity of  Mary be yours.
Joseph's integrity,
The Baptist's repentance be yours.

Mary's Bethlehem welcome be yours.
Christ's embrace of children be yours.
The humility of Zaccaheus,
The inner freedom of the Samaritan be yours.

The new-seeing of Bartimaeus be yours.
Christ's courtesy towards women be yours.
His Gethsemane consciousness,
The water-wash from his side be yours.

Joy of the myrrh-bearers be yours.
Thomas' change of heart be yours.
Christ's ascent to higher things,
The un-burdening of Paul be yours.

The bread-breaking of apostles be yours.
The Gospel-love of Francis be yours.
The sick-carrying strength of Aloysius,
Drexel's love of the littlest be yours.

The medicine of Martin be yours.
The God-love of Tekakwitha be yours.
The violence-stopping witness of Telemachus,
Emma's healed temper be yours.


  1. It certainly has been a terribly nasty time for our country. Division is everywhere and you don't know who will get angry at the slightest comment for one side or the other. I may print out this prayer and share it with my family at dinner to quell their angry dialogue.

  2. I think the national animosity is so deep, we'd come across many Christians who'd refuse to pray this prayer. They'd be afraid it might "steal their thunder" or calm their fury. Anyway, your desire and good intention is commendable. May the prayer be wonder-working!

  3. Yes, priests must hear a lot from people. It wasn't easy to be in the workplace before or even now after this election season. In fact, it might even be worse now that the ballots have been counted and one side has claimed victory to the great dismay of the other. Arguments, verbal fighting, shaming, and ending of friendships. I have never seen such discord over an election before now.

    1. Especially as we get older we say, "I've never seen anything like this..." But in truth, I haven't! I believe the news guest was right when months ago she said, "The nation has veered off into shadow." I get it. I have to keep writing prayers and blessings to fend off the bad stuff.

  4. Father, I am neither proud nor pleased with how I voted, but we all had our chance to make our choice and get out and vote. I'm sorry if people didn't get what they wanted, but it is a time to bring ourselves together and move forward. It is time to stop hurling insults at people who don't agree with our views. I hope people read your prayer and listen to your words. It is well done.

  5. The joy of the pending holidays diminished this year. I join you in the hope you express and pray it isn't a great national calamity that brings us together again. That would be a shame and a further embarrassment for the nation that fashions itself to be godly.

  6. I want to fly with you and see these things with open eyes and an open mind. I love this prayer.

    1. Holding hands and flying up and around the room. Reminds me of Peter Pan. But under the fantasy, your simple sentence reveals something very important: We need each other. "This day you will be with me..." Jesus says from the Cross in today's Gospel. "With me" and there we find not only Jesus, but each other. That matters!

  7. I, like many, voted for the candidate that I thought would be less detrimental to our country as a whole, instead of a person that I felt confident in. That in itself is a sad, sad statement isn't it? But regardless of the outcome, I vowed not to be angry or belittle those who had differing views from my own, or who voted differently. Now I keep my head down and try not to get into these discussions because it has only gotten uglier. Thank you for your prayer Father Stephen. It casts light on a dark situation.

  8. Next Sunday we light the first of the four Advent candles. They are little candles of hope.

  9. Amen! Let us pray for healing in our country. Candles, prayers, forgiveness and discussion. Whatever it takes to bring us together.

  10. Yes, light a candle. A small act of trust and LIGHT in the dark.

  11. Father, do you feel the darkness because of the great division that has come about, or the riots in the cities, or because of the election outcome and who we have as our president elect? When you are soaring in prayer above the earth, what would bring the most light to your world?

    1. I'm grieved by all the hate - maybe especially when I encounter it among Christians. When I meet people who aren't haters - that brings light into my world. There are still some. I know one when I see one. Thanks for asking.

  12. It has been an exhausting time for us all regardless of which side you were supporting so this prayer is a welcome change form all the political talk constantly surrounding us. I have been reading books previously shelved for the future, listening to music, keeping off my Instagram, and petting my dog more to keep my head on straight. I agree, lighting a candle helps to calm and soothe the soul. Watching the flickering light casting moving shadows. Peace.

  13. Petting a dog - now that sounds like a very good idea. I have four rescues and they're all needy. Lots of petting and sweet talk.

  14. I loved this prayer for our poor country where we have forgotten to love our neighbors. Thank your it and for all of your thoughtful responses above. Wonderful to see some passion for prayer.

  15. I feel that we have to begin again. We have to learn how to smile at each other. We have to learn how to say, "Good morning" and "Thank you." We need to learn to open doors for each other and talk to each other across a table. We have sunk very low culturally and digging ourselves out of it or turning it around....I'm sorry to say, I'm not feeling confident about it all. And so we must begin with our own conversion. I knew a monastic sister years ago who when I would leave her company she would say, "Pray for my conversion." The whole nation could pick up that line and start saying it from some felt place, if we could find it. I said in a sermon once that I felt a day was coming when Americans would kill each other for a tray of Dunkin Donuts. I am very glad and grateful that along the way good people introduced me to Jesus Christ and his Mother, who is graced with the title: Having no other hope. Blessed Advent to you, Donna.