Two things to address:
First, is a prosperous America going to lead people to heaven?
Second, is our manner of prayer as pleasing to God as it should be? Well three. What does this hideous statue of Mary Magdalene have to do with anything?
Is a Prosperous America Going to Lead People to Heaven?
Our country is in a decline from Christian values into total depravity. Truly Roman 1:18-28 is true. We as a nation have very much rejected God and it is reasonable that God has given us up to the lusts in our hearts. We have exchanged God for various modern idols. Claiming to be wise we have become fools and not only do we do such things that we deserve punishment but we encourage others to do these things as well. If Romney had been elected for example, and turned the country around, would the immorality, greed, and depravity stop? No way. It would likely increase because the affluent often think they do not need God. So a prosperous America can be a wide road to hell for many.
This is not new. In the early third century Origen complained about the lukewarmness of the faithful He suggested that the end of persecution caused this terrible problem and that maybe persecution is more necessary than anyone would like. Pope St Pius V also blamed lukewarm Catholics as the cause of evil.
Cardinal George of Chicago recently verified the accuracy of the quote where he said “I will likely die in bed. My successor will die in prison. His successor will die a martyr.” He went on to say that the quote was incomplete in that his successor’s successor’s successor would help rebuild a Christian civilization.
So if we are in for economic decline, and persecution for Christian moral values such as the Sacrament of Marriage then so be it. That will be my fiat. Like Mary (Luke 1) I will turn my fear into fiat. So rather than pray for a politicians to be elected that will magically make everything right we need to pray for the conversion of our population back to the Christian faith and Christian moral principles. Remember that the right and left are not good and evil. The Democrats really wanted to remove God from their platform. Anyone who watched the convention knows that. Abortion has almost sacramental status on the left. Godless utopian solutions are on the left. But the right has the evil of Ayn Rand that has yet to rear its ugly head, among other things.
So we need what Jesus told his apostles to pull off right before he ascended into heaven, that is that disciples be made of “all nations.” Not all people. All nations. We need to work and pray towards that. That leads to prayer.
Is Our Manner of Prayer as Pleasing to God as it Should Be?
From the 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Prayer:
“Efficacy in Prayer. To the prayer of petition alone Our Lord has added the promise of infallible efficacy. ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you. Hitherto you have not asked in my name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.’(Jn 16:24; Mt 7:7, 21-22).
Theologians agree that this promise is infallibly fulfilled not only for the just man but even for the sinner, provided that the person prays for himself with the proper disposition listed below and direct the prayers to an object that will be advantageous to his eternal salvation. Prayer for another is not always infallibly heard because resistance to the grace of God on the part of others is not under the control of the one who prays.”
Chapter One of the Prophet Malachi also seems appropriate regarding proper disposition in prayer. Prior to the prophecy of the Catholic Mass in 1:11 the first ten verses are condemnation of the poor way the priests were conducting the sacrifices. I have always felt sorry for those priests. I cannot imagine the hard work of slaughtering animal after animal after animal. Then God tells them they did a terrible job. I can, however, certainly understand the fact that God was angry for their use of sub-standard animals in the sacrifice.
I feel our modern prayers are the same way. I call it “over-the-shoulder prayer.” We pray over the shoulder when we feel like it and often in a manner that would irritate any human being if you gave them the same kind of attention as you do to who you are praying to. In Malachi 1, the prophet asks what the governor would do if you gave him the poor sacrifices you gave to God.
I am guilty of everything I am complaining about but that does not change the fact that these are likely major problems with our prayers. First, there is a sacrificial nature of prayer. We should pray especially when we do not want to. We should pray on a regularly scheduled basis. Think of Sunday Mass. Yes, we must all go to Mass but we have so many options. We can go Saturday night, multiple times on Sunday morning, often in the afternoon, and Sunday evening as well. So, if the San Diego Chargers are on at 10AM Sunday I can go to Mass Saturday night or Sunday night, whenever it is convenient. If I am out of town, I can go to Mass where ever I am.
I pray the rosary daily but when it is convenient. I fast quite often. I just stop the fast once I get hungry.
This is why a scheduled holy hour is so important especially within a Perpetual Adoration environment. First the discipline and sacrifice of having to be in a specific place at a specific time tames our disobedient nature. It is also why saints tell us to schedule our prayers, and work hard on prayer. Give it all we have.
As I was discussing with another priest this week the results of Occupy Adoration Election Day and the premise behind it his opinion was the premise was right on, i.e., that we have a tangible, united prayer effort that required visible effort. He went on to state his thought that most internet based prayer drives were just so many chain letters. I don’t entirely agree but when you can sign up to pray up to 1,000 Memorares, hey, really? Too easy to say, much harder to do it.
So the point of this rant is that Eucharistic Adoration is the solution to our country’s present and near-future woes. Blessed John Paul II says so and Blessed Mother Teresa says so. If you are actually reading this, Adoration Servants can help you make Eucharistic Adoration easier in your parish. So keep that in mind but more importantly, find a way to pray until it hurts.
Another priest tells the story of a parent who came to him about getting his son back into the Church. “What can I do Father?”
“Do you really want to know? Are you willing to do anything?
“Oh yes Father, anything.”
“Yes Father. Absolutely anything. Whatever it takes.”
“OK here is what you need to do. Go to Holy Mass every single day. Prayer 20 decades of the rosary every single day. Fast on bread and water one day a week. And finally spend several hours a week in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.”
“Oh Father, that is too much!!!!!”
Mary Magdalene, a patron saint of Adoration Servants, is said to have made herself ugly in the eyes of the world through extreme prayer and fasting. Donatello’s famous statue captures this along with her meditation on Christ’s passion. May we all look so ugly and we will be beautiful in the sight of God, and get souls to heaven.