In November of last year the Catholic Bishops of the United States presented Catholic voters a set of teachings with which to form consciences and support citizens living out the Gospel in public life. The result was “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” which all voters would benefit by studying at the web site faithfulcitizenship.org.
Almost a year later, the nation approaches Election Day perhaps as a turning point, certainly as a milestone in American history.
How will Catholic voters exercise their American citizenship in order to transform the culture into one that reflects Gospel values that proclaim the rights to life and dignity for all persons? Who will they choose to confront such issues as threats to innocent human life especially at its beginning and end, ongoing foreign wars, a global financial crisis, a warming planetary environment and a host of others?
These are the questions with which Catholic voters and many people of good will are grappling. The answers, coming eventually in the form of the candidates who are elected, will be imperfect because those victors will be just as open to grace and prone to sin as anyone else.
Our new president and other new or incumbent officials will need our prayers from Nov. 5 onward. But up until Election Day on Nov. 4, as we continue the process of reading and listening to form our consciences before voting, we should take time now for prayer.
The Bishops recommend for our remembrance in prayer a Faithful Citizenship novena reprinted below. Oct. 26 falls nine days before Nov. 4, so next Sunday would be a good time to start including the novena in our daily prayers. Visit www.faithfulcitizenship.org/docs/FC_Novena.pdf for Scripture readings, reflections and prayers for each day of the novena. With all that we read and discuss about this important election, we should be able to say we prayed on it, too.
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,
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 inspanidual
human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit conquer all sin:
inspanidual 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.