Immaculate Conception, Pray for U.S.!

Left, right, or center, I think we all agree: The United States is facing a unique and potentially quite serious array of challenges right now.

Not a day goes by without some major news. It will, of course, only accelerate as we plunge into the midst of an election year. So what are we as Catholics and Americans to do?

Well, as Catholics, we have certain obligations in the midst of all this (see Rom 13:1-7; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2234-2246), obligations not only of political participation (see Catechism, 2239-2240), voting according to a well-formed conscience (see Catechism, 1783-1785) and speaking out for truth, goodness, justice, and so on. No — we also have obligations of prayer and intercession on behalf of our homeland.

First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:1-4).

Saint Faustina practiced this sort of intercession for one’s homeland repeatedly throughout her life. She records in her Diary:

On one occasion I heard these words in my soul, Make a novena for your country. This novena will consist of the recitation of the Litany of the Saints. Ask your confessor for permission.

I received permission at my next confession and began the novena that very evening. Towards the end of the litany I saw a great radiance and, in the midst of it, God the Father. Between this radiance and the earth I saw Jesus, nailed to the Cross in such a way that when God wanted to look at the earth, He had to look through the wounds of Jesus. And I understood that it was for the sake of Jesus that God blesses the earth (Diary, 59-60; see also 32-33, 39, 714)

After a short time, I saw the Mother of God, unspeakably beautiful. She said to me, My daughter, what I demand from you is prayer, prayer, and once again prayer, for the world and especially for your country. For nine days receive Holy Communion in atonement and unite yourself closely to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. During these nine days you will stand before God as an offering; always and everywhere, at all times and places, day or night, whenever you wake up, pray in the spirit. In spirit, one can always remain in prayer (Diary, 325).

Dave and Joan Maroney, the Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM; an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception), have put together “Divine Mercy for America,” an action plan of prayer and fasting for the USA following the example that St. Faustina gave to us all. It’s very timely, given the state of our country. All Marian Helpers would do well to visit the website and take part.

It’s also important to turn to the intercession of the patroness of our country: Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception. Our country has the best of intercessors! She is the most powerful of all the saints, and most loving. We often neglect our patroness in our homes and parishes. Let’s change that. Let’s spread devotion to Mary Immaculate, asking our pastors to make a place for devotion to the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States, in our parishes or on our parish grounds, as there’s room. Let’s give some room in our homes to an image of the Immaculate Conception and pray the Rosary before it, asking Our Lady for her powerful intercession and maternal care for the U.S.A. Let’s invite the Immaculate Conception to take an active role in helping to heal, guide, and renew our nation, to heal our partisan divides, form our consciences in accordance with truth, and lead us all to be truly one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States of America, pray for us!

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.

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(Photo: Marian Fathers Archives; a painting of the Immaculate Conception found in Santi Vito e Modesto in Rome.)

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