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“What is going on today?” I wondered, curious as I approached the calendar. Our MEC calendar takes a whole wall of our student lounge. There we can write the events of the day, announce coming birthdays and special celebrations, request a driver to drop you off at the airport or just share thoughts and ideas. Some things written there end up buried in other notes and posts. But that didn’t happen on November 5.
“Please join us for rosary in the chapel,” I read. “Let’s bombard Heaven with prayers before the elections tomorrow! All are invited!”
All were invited. And all came.
I walked into our chapel, clinging to my bombs: rosary beads. Having made a promise of poverty, prayer is many times the only thing I have to offer. However, I believe it is powerful. It was the least I could do on that evening for all the American people who I love so much.
I know Americans love their country, and they are known abroad for this love. The first time I experienced their patriotism was on my trip from Spain to the USA in the summer of 2005. I remember the flags waving on the porches, the 4th of July fireworks and the traditional hamburgers and potato salad that couldn’t be missing for Independence Day.
“We pray in this decade that all American citizens will exercise their right to vote with an enlightened conscience. Our Father, who are in Heaven…” I realized that this love for the USA is deep. It’s a love for a God-given homeland and the gifts of freedom and faith. This love was now turning to the giver of all good things, asking Him to protect the work of His hands.
My voice mingled with my friends’ through the Hail Marys. I understood the concern of my American consecrated sisters for the future of their country. I had been in their position during March, when the elections for the Spanish president took place. I know what it is to worry for the future of your country and to turn to the king of all nations.
“Lord bless the USA, and bless us all. I pray not only for the future of the USA, but also of all those nations that follow her example. Whatever happens here could soon be spread all over — unless you do something. Immaculate Mary, protect us under your mantel!” I had never though that my love for America would be so strong!
I took the lyrics handed to us to sing between each decade. They weren’t the typical Marian songs (“Immaculate Mary”, “Ave Maria” and the like) that we pray in our community rosaries. Instead, our voices joined in singing “Amazing grace”, “America the Beautiful” and “Faith of our Fathers”.
As we sang, one scene of “The sound of music” came to mind. It is the one in which Captain von Trap is at the recital, near the end of the movie. The theater is packed with Nazi soldiers.
“I am going to sing a song of love, a song of love for my country”. And he starts with his “Edelweiss, edelweiss”. But he cannot keep singing very long. Tears replace his voice in expressing the deep affection for his motherland. His wife Maria jumps in his rescue, and soon the whole crowd joins him singing “…Bless my homeland forever.”
That November 5 evening I touched what it means to believe in the power of prayer. I still believe in it today, even after the results of November 6. Perhaps God wants to show us not only that we have faith in prayer, but also faith in action. Faith that is expressed in our daily lives as a living prayer to God. Faith that our Christian witness can, together with God’s grace, transform the heart of a nation.
God bless the USA!