Today we witnessed the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama, 44th president of the United States of America. It has been a day of great emotion. I keep finding myself with tears streaming down my face at the wonder and beauty of it all. Born in the last months of Harry Truman’s presidency, I remember the struggles of the 60s for basic human rights for all Americans. (I was too young to be aware of them in the 50s, but I know the struggle didn’t begin when I became old enough to notice it.) I remember the assasinations. I remember the triumphs as well and the courage of men, women and children who kept pushing and moving all of us forward into a new social reality.
As the inauguration ceremony began and ended with prayer, the Litany of the Saints began to sing through my mind and heart. It has continued all through this day.
“Holy Mother of God, pray for us. St. Michael, pray for us. … St. Stephen, pray for us … St. Augustine … St. Athanasius … St. Martin … St. Catherine … St. Teresa … ” And names of those not canonized but who struggled, suffered and sometimes died to make today possible joined the litany. Martin, Medgar, Malcolm, Ralph, Coretta, Dorothy, and so many, many more, … pray for us. Family members who worked for a better world and did their best to be a light for all of us, … pray for us. “All holy men and women, pray for us.”
Today is only the beginning. There are tremendous challenges ahead for the United States and for the world. Things may well get worse before they get better. The economic and social problems we face will be overwhelming unless we remember to pray and trust God to help us resolve them. We’ll have to work together. We’ll all have to give some things in order to receive others. But we are all children of God, all loved equally by a God who is absolutely crazy about us. And a great cloud of witnesses is hovering around us, praying for us and believing that the kingdom has begun, redemption is here, and with God’s help we can begin to live it here and now.
Congratulations, President Obama. We’ll be praying for you and your family. We thank you for your courage. We thank you for the hope you bring to so many. We look forward to bringing hopes and dreams of a better future into reality.
And so the prayer continues cycling through my heart again and again: “Holy Mother of God, pray for us … St. Michael, pray for us …. St. Joseph … St. Peter and St. Paul … St. Mary Magdalene … St. Martin de Porres … St. Peter Claver … All holy men and women, pray for us.”Read More