by Fr Richard Heilman | March 23, 2017 9:50 AM
I had the great honor to be asked to do the invocation for the recent Republican Lincoln/Reagan dinner at the Monona Terrace in Madison, WI. Among the many speakers, Senator Ron Johnson joined us.
This was my invocation …
Christians are unable to speak freely. Religious freedom is under attack. Society is materialistic and immoral. Western civilization is facing huge threats, from within and without. And apparently the one powerful emerging leader is no saint.
You’re thinking America 2017? No. Rome 312.
In rides Constantine, the new Roman Emperor. Constantine had many serious defects, but the legend remains that he had a “Road to Damascus” moment, saw a vision, converted to Christianity, triumphed over his opponents, and became a great emperor of Rome.
Constantine created the environment which gave Christians the freedom to influence society. The early Christians were perfectly capable of influencing society themselves; all they needed from the emperor was the freedom to do so.
Christianity began to spread, not by a conquering sword, but by attraction. People liked the Christians. They were “strong in virtue,’ and that was impressive.
STRENGTH. Ronald Reagan was a strong proponent of “Peace through strength.”
Here are Reagan’s thoughts …
“We know that peace is the condition under which mankind was meant to flourish. Yet peace does not exist of its own will. It depends on us, on our courage to build it and guard it and pass it on to future generations.”
STRENGTH. The U.S. Army ran a very effective “Army Strong” advertising campaign to recruit soldiers. The key message was: “There is strong, and then there is Army Strong.” The commercial goes on to say,
“It is a strength like none other. It is a physical strength. It is an emotional strength. It is strength of character. It is strength of purpose. The strength to do good today, and the strength to do well tomorrow. The strength to obey, and the strength to command. The strength to build, and the strength to tear down. The strength to get yourself over, and the strength to get over yourself.”
These are warrior assets necessary to overcome the enemy. However, recall that our ultimate struggle is not against flesh and blood combatants, but against the much stronger and craftier spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm (Eph 6:11). Therefore, if we hope for peace to flourish in our land and evil to be held at bay, we are to become not just Army Strong, but God Strong.
So, let us pray for the strength of holiness …
Heavenly Father, we call out to You and ask that you grant us the strength we need to be holy so that evil finds no home here, as we prosper in Your peace and blessing in America …
Grant us …
A faith that believes in all You have revealed to us.
A hope that trusts in Your power.
A charity by which we love You above all things, and that we love our neighbor as ourselves.
Grant us …
A prudence that disposes us to discern our true good and to choose the right means of achieving it.
A justice that respects, and even reveres, the rights of our fellow man.
A courage that gives us a resolve to resist temptations and overcome obstacles in our pursuit of the good, even when facing trials and persecutions.
A temperance that moderates our base desires as we strive for our higher calling as Your children.
Heavenly Father, we call upon Your power to help us to …
Make America Strong Again!
Make America Safe Again!
Make America Great Again!
MAKE AMERICA HOLY AGAIN!
Then I put on this cap 😉 (I gave one these caps to Senator Johnson 🙂 )….
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