Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Election novena

The following is a news release from the Office of Media Relations of the USCCB which asks all Catholics to pray an election novena until Election Day (Nov. 4). Let us all join in praying this novena (nine-day prayer); the first day is below the news release. To view the whole novena, please click on today’s title.

Bishops Ask Catholics To Pray Election Novena

(Aug. 19) WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites U.S. Catholics to pray before the November election a novena for life, justice, and peace called Novena for Faithful Citizenship. It is a podcast and available for download.

Joan Rosenhauer, Associate Director for the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, said that the special novena is part of “the bishops’ campaign to help Catholics develop well-formed consciences for addressing political and social questions.” The bishops issued their statement on forming consciences for faithful citizenship in November 2007.

Helen Osman, USCCB Secretary of Communications, expressed hope that the novena could help “Catholics enter into prayerful reflection as they prepare to vote.” Seventy-one percent of all visitors to the USCCB’s web site download the free podcasts of the daily NAB readings. These same visitors are encouraged to use the novena podcast for prayer. Osman said that the USCCB wants to support Catholics as they weigh pre-election issues and that “providing a prayer resource on the Web can help us focus on our common values and identity as Catholics.” The novena emphasizes the dignity of life, justice, and peace.

The Novena for Faithful Citizenship runs for nine days and can be used consecutively, one day each week, for nine days prior to the election, or “in any way that works best for a community or individual,” said Rosenhauer.

The novena will be available for download until the election and it can be downloaded online at http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org/resources/podcasts.

For other Faithful Citizenship resources and materials visit www.faithfulcitizenship.org.

First Day

Opening Prayer
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in us the fire of your love.

Ps 8:2, 4-10
O LORD, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!
You have set your majesty above the heavens!
When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place—
What are humans that you are mindful of them,
mere mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them little less than a god,
crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them rule over the works of your hands,
put all things at their feet:
All sheep and oxen,
even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!

How will I praise God today? How will I show respect for others, especially my neighbor or those in my community who are not like me?

God of love,
may we grow in our love for you
by respecting the dignity of all people we encounter.

Novena Prayer
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
help us to conquer the menace of evil,
which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today,
and whose immeasurable effects
already weigh down upon our modern world
and seem to block the paths toward the future.
From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against human life from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the
children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both
national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God,
deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of
God, deliver us.
From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ,
this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual
human beings,
laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit conquer all sin:
individual sin and the “sin of the world,”
sin in all its manifestations.
Let there be revealed once more in the history of the world
the infinite saving power of the redemption:
the power of merciful love.
May it put a stop to evil.
May it transform consciences.
May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of hope.


At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question unrelated to the post-

St. Augustine asserts that we have free will, but then suggests that we, fallen human beings, are incapable to alone choose what is good. He suggests that we are free to choose good only if God enables us to. So, do we really have the capacity to choose good as well as evil? I remember there was a conversation here some time back about being a slave to sin but can’t remember when that was. How is our will (truly) free if we are “enslaved to a sinful nature?”

Of course we choose things- go to Mass, don’t go to Mass, gossip, don’t gossip, etc. However, in matters of the ways we think, what we believe, how we love and hate, if we have a depraved moral nature - how are we responsible when we sin instead of choosing good- something, alone, we are not capable of?

At 12:45 PM, Blogger fran said...

Conversation about slave to sin..
Check out May 7th and May 30th posts.

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Maryann said...

I have a wonderful Jewish friend that introduced me to the beauty of Jewish stories.

Through the ages, the Jewish religion has used storytelling as an important means of providing inspiration and communicating spirituality. Their stories are based on the Old Testament and typically focus on noble deeds performed by and through ordinary people. Much like our parables, each story has a lesson to offer. The beauty lies in the growth gained when the lesson is fully absorbed and translated into daily actions and words.

I thought the following story spoke to the power quantity has in terms of prayer; whether through a novena or nine people praying together for a common cause, prayer in numbers is power.

The Ladder
By Eliezer Steinman

The great Chassidic master Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov would pray for many hours every day. His disciples, who had long concluded their own prayers, would form a circle around him to listen to the melody of his prayers and feast their eyes on the spectacle of a soul soaring in meditative attachment to its Maker. It was an unspoken rule amongst them that no one abandoned his post until their master had concluded his prayers.

One day, a great fatigue and hunger befell them. One by one, they slipped home for a bite and a few moments rest, certain that their master's prayers would continue for several hours more. But when they returned, they found that he had finished praying while they were gone.

"Tell us, Rebbe," they asked him, "why did you conclude your prayers so early today?"

The Baal Shem Tov answered them with a parable: Once, a group of people were journeying through a forest. Their leader, who was blessed with a keen eyesight, spotted a beautiful bird perched atop a tall tree.

"Come," he said to his companions, "I wish to capture this beautiful bird, so that we may delight in her song and gaze upon her wondrous hues."

"But how can you reach this bird you see," asked they, "the tree being so high and ourselves held captive by the ground?"

"If you each climb up onto the shoulders of your fellow," their leader explained, "I will climb on to the shoulders of the topmost man and reach for the treasure that beckons to us from the heights."

And so they did. Together, they formed a chain reaching from the earth toward the heavens, to raise their leader to his aspired goal. But they soon wearied of the exercise and went off to eat and rest, and the man who had sighted the bird tumbled to the ground.

Lesson: Collective effort has better results.


At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

So, do we really have the capacity to choose good as well as evil?

Sure. Here's a dreadful analogy:

An electric lamp [human nature] has the capacity to light a room [choose good], but it requires electricity [God's grace] to do so. A poorly wired lamp [fallen human nature] still has the capacity to light a room, but it needs repairing [also God's grace] in addition to electricity. You might get the lamp to turn on briefly [do one good act] by jiggling bits around ["actual grace"], but what you really want to do is fix it ["habitual grace"], and even them you might need to jiggle it from time to time until you can take it to the shop [heaven].

I think Church teaching on this is clearer about what is wrong to say than about what is right. In the analogy, we can't say that the lamp is battery-powered, and so needs no electricity to light, and we can't say that the lamp is so broken that it's lost its capacity to light.

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Tom: “So, do we really have the capacity to choose good as well as evil?”

I slugged-in/took-out, etc.:
“Human nature has the capacity to choose good, but it requires God's grace to do so. Fallen human nature still has the capacity to do good, but it also needs God's grace. You might do one good act by actual grace, but what you really want to do is habitual grace.”

Does this change the point I addressed- if we REQUIRE God’s grace to do good, how are WE responsible when we don’t- if, indeed, we require God’s grace (specially habitually) to do good?

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

if we REQUIRE God’s grace to do good, how are WE responsible when we don’t- if, indeed, we require God’s grace (specially habitually) to do good?

Because God always gives us the grace we need to do good.


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