Remember, Lord, this country and all those in public service whom you have allowed to govern on earth. Grant them profound and lasting peace. Speak to their hearts good things concerning Your Church and all Your people that through the faithful conduct of their duties we may live peaceful and serene lives in all piety and holiness. ~Prayer from the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
Dear Beloved in Christ,
God is with us!
These words are worth pondering in the present situation: “all those in public service whom you have allowed to govern on earth…” The pandemic of the coronavirus has also caused another pandemic amongst the people: the disease of contempt toward our civil leaders. (Forgive me for broaching a touchy subject!)
Thus the words of St. Basil’s Liturgy—which is celebrated on the Sundays of Great Lent—are a fitting meditation. God has allowed our leaders to lead. Yes, the Republican, the Democrat, the virtuous, the immoral, and everyone in between. God has allowed them to govern on earth.
Now an important qualification must be made here: God is not giving His stamp of approval to any of these leaders. The point is not whether these civil leaders are friends or enemies of God. The point, rather, is that God’s saving work is totally unhindered by anything. This is the immense breadth of God’s providence. He works through kind and benevolent leaders and also through despots—all toward the salvation of mankind.
For our part, we must pray exactly as St. Basil guides us, asking for their profound and lasting peace, and that, “through the faithful conduct of their duties, we may live peaceful and serene lives.”
In this present struggle, our leaders need our prayers rather than our contempt, criticism, or anger. They are the ones who have been appointed to lead us, for good or for ill. Let us pray that God guide them, so that their work will be toward the good rather than the ill..
Most importantly, we must look internally: How am I bearing anger or bitterness toward those who lead? This is my spiritual sickness, not anyone else’s. And the healing of this comes precisely through the same action: prayer for our leaders.
May God grant them discernment, peace, and love! And may He have mercy on us all!
On Sunday we celebrated the Veneration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross. Above you can see a photo from the Liturgy.