Monday, November 05, 2012

"With A Firm Reliance On Providence...."

And so, finally, it's almost over. 

A fuller post to come, but as the lights get ready to go out on Campaign 2012, we'd be remiss to start the week anywhere but with this cycle's ecclesial Messenger-in-Chief, and the rare feat he pulled off at summer's end, offering the closing benediction at the Republican National Convention in Tampa...

...then for the following week's Democratic gathering in Charlotte:

For purposes of context, to find the last time an American Catholic leader prayed at twin conventions, you'd have to go all the way back to 1948, when both parties gathered in Philadelphia and turned to the city's archbishop, the then 82 year-old Dennis Cardinal Dougherty – the founding Pharaoh of an "empire" now superseded... his figure surpassed only by his legend.

Before Tim Dolan, the last time a representative of any faith tradition was given the double-duty came in 1968, and none less than "The Nation's Pastor" – Billy Graham – at that.

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And now, with the Presidency, all 435 House seats and 33 in the Senate, the legislatures of some 44 states, hundreds of city or county posts – and, not to be forgotten, several key ballot-questions facing voters – all up for grabs on these shores tomorrow, as ever at moments like this, let us return again to the foundational text of Faithful Citizenship, American Style – the Prayer for the Nation and its Government written and first delivered in August 1791 by John Carroll of Baltimore: adviser to Washington, cousin of the Declaration's lone Catholic signer, the first shepherd of this church in these States....
We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name. 
We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation. 
We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty. 
We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability. 
We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal. 
Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. 
To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.