A powerful picture of a crowd during the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia was shared on social media a little over a year ago. The photo captured a group of people lined up on the sidewalk, anxious to see Pope Francis pass by and wave to them. All of them were holding their phones… except one elderly woman. The expression on the old woman’s face clearly demonstrated that she was enjoying the moment and fully present in it.
I remember my sister, a “millennial”, telling me to put my phone down that same weekend.
I think that no matter how old we are,
we all know we are looking down at a device to often.
We know we need to look up at each other.
We know we need to be kind to one another.
We all want love to win in our personal life, in our nation and in our world.
But, have we prayed about it as much as we talked about it?
Does anyone else think it might be a good idea to look up even more?
One of our strengths as Americans is how much we encourage kindness toward others. Another strength we have is how much we value education.
It is not uncommon for parents to refer to a book or read an article in order to help them love their children.
We know that it is perfectly okay to look at and refer to a reliable source in order to better ourselves.
And most of us believe:
God is love.
1 John 4:8
There is no greater source to go to than God when we seek to love one another.
No matter how we identify ourselves – as a Catholic or agnostic, as a Jew or Protestant, as a Muslim or an atheist – we can certainly meditate upon the meaning of love and the calling that each of us has to be an instrument of peace.
Don’t believe in God? Meditation is proven to lower stress and increase good health. Go to a church while some old ladies are praying the Rosary and sit quietly. Listen to the meditation. I guarantee you will find rest. You might also find that your blood pressure is lower.
Are you a believer? Great! Pray more. Please, I beg of you! There is not one person in this world that could use less prayers. Even Pope Francis asks us all to pray for him!
Let us truly love one another. Let us truly embrace our freedom to pray. Let us ask the Holy Spirit for more guidance before we engage in a debate about politics or express our opinion about the media.
Let us remind ourselves that:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 4-8
It seems that many of us are often upset by what we see on the news or on Facebook or Twitter. There is A LOT of information out there that is upsetting. Let us bring ourselves to the one source of peace that will renew, energize and calm us . . .
Not sure the words to pray? Sit in silence and ask the Lord to move your heart.
Want some words to pray? Here is just one prayer that might help . . .
And a longer version of the same prayer:
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Help me to be patient and kind.
Help my family to not envy or boast.
Help my community to honor all members and to not be self-seeking.
Help our leaders to be slow to anger and not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth.
Help me to keep no record of wrongs, but to always ask –
what can I peacefully do at this moment?
Lord Jesus, Enable and inspire all Americans to always protect, trust, hope and persevere.
Open the hearts of all Americans to truly love You Lord;
and compassionately love our neighbors.
Please Lord, give all of us a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
and conduct pleasing to you
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Saint Katharine Drexel, pray for us!
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
I am not suggesting that we do not speak up for those that need our voice.
I am suggesting we seek guidance from the Lord before we do so, and seek that guidance frequently.
Let’s make sure we can answer the following question with a confident, “YES!”
Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?
Prayer causes miracles.
Who doesn’t love witnessing a miracle?
Please look up at each other,
and more often than that,
look up towards heaven . . . and pray.
May God Bless America
Interested in why asked Saint Katharine Drexel to pray for us? Read this post Hear, Listen, Understand: St. Katharine Drexel’s Prayer for America