(Submitted by me for yesterday’s bulletin as a member of my parish’s Spiritual Life Committee.)
St. Paul, today, offers an important message to every Christian: “God…wills everyone to be saved.” He prefaces this remark by encouraging prayers “for everyone” and then he specifically mentions “kings and for all in authority.” No one is to be excluded from our prayer of “supplication…petitions, and thanksgivings.” No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy, as Pope Francis is so fond of emphasizing, particularly in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Disappointed in your elected leaders? Pray for them all the more! Troubled by policies of the president, congress, and state and local officials that militate against the Catholic Faith? Petition the Lord God that they come to realize the error of their ways. Hurt or angered by those who seem beyond help or forgiveness? Beg the Lord in supplication to change their hearts (and yours). Grateful for family, friends, co-workers, neighbors (and even some politicians)? Be sure to thank them and God for their presence in your life.
To what does Paul tell us that these prayers lead? First, a “quiet and tranquil life.” Why is this the result? Because when we turn to Jesus on others’ behalf we are cooperating with Him in His desire to help everyone to be saved. In doing so, Christ gives us the grace to overcome any feelings of pain or animosity toward those who have grieved us. Working with God for others gives us peace because then we are obeying the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37, 39)
What else is the result of such prayers? “Devotion and dignity.” One cannot help but think of the ever-growing threat to religious freedom happening in our country and throughout the world. Here, prayers of supplication and petition are desperately needed to ask God to enlighten with the truth those with the power to adjudicate, legislate, and execute so that they will ensure that we retain the freedom to express our devotion to God and live Christian values in the public square while upholding the dignity of all persons, from conception until natural death, each and every one whom the Lord wishes to be saved.
Who will you pray for each day that you have not prayed for before?