By Fr. Tirso Villaverde
St. MARGARET PARISH
Election time: How will you vote?
It is election time again and perhaps the biggest question on peoples’ minds might be, “Who do I vote for?”
“Which of the candidates will most likely represent and reflect who I am as a Christian, a citizen of the United States?”
Readers may even be reading this article and the next president of the United States has already been elected. No matter who each of us may vote for or choose to support, there is no doubt that this current election has been the most heated and perhaps even the most contentious race in recent memory.
This article is not meant to support one candidate over another. This is not even meant to determine if there is a candidate more or less favorable. As we enter this election period, this article is simply meant to call upon all Christian voters and all people of good will to pray that God’s grace, wisdom, and providence will direct the decision making of all those who will take part in voting.
Of course, with God’s grace naturally comes the human response of cooperation with that divine help. God will give us what we need to be enlightened and informed voters. God will illumine our minds to assist us on the day of voting. God will even continue to come to the aid of our nation and the world even after a new leader has been selected. At the same time, though, as with all things we human beings must cooperate with the grace of God in order that the mind and heart of God become our very own. God’s grace is given to us not to force us into acting in a certain way but simply to help us reach a level of clarity where we will learn to think, feel, act, and love like God who is infinitely wiser than any individual human being or all human beings combined.
The first thing that must be done is simply to pray that all voters will be open to listening to the mind of God no matter which of the candidates might be voted into the particular office for which they may be running.
Skeletons in their closets
In each of the public office that is a part of this year’s election, we know that there is absolutely no candidate who is the perfect person for the job. Every human being has his or her own flaws. Every human being has “skeletons in their closets” that they may try to hide. Every human being has made errors in the past and will continue to commit mistakes in the future. That is simply the nature of being a human being. In the Catholic Christian mindset, we are flawed creatures guided by God who are seeking and striving for greater holiness each and every day of our lives. For this reason, if we are going to base our decisions regarding the election based on which candidate is the “perfect” candidate, we will never be able to make up our minds.
As we are praying for this year’s election, what we may need to ask ourselves is simply, “Which of the candidates will most likely represent and reflect who I am as a Christian, a citizen of the United States, and as a member of the human race?” In this regard, the following prayer may help to guide us:
O God, who arrange all things according to a wonderful design, graciously receive the prayers we pour out to you for our country, that, through the wisdom of its leaders—especially those to be elected—and the integrity of its citizens, harmony and justice may be assured and lasting prosperity come with peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (From the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal with some adaptation)
Then, after the election as was mentioned previously, we must continue to pray and perhaps this prayer may be good for us to use:
Almighty ever-living God, in whose hand lies every human heart and the rights of peoples, look with favor, we pray, on those who govern with authority over us, that throughout the whole world the prosperity of peoples, the assurance of peace, and freedom of religion may through your gift be made secure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (From the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal)