Prayers for the suffering Church, then and now

In a column written for the U.K.’s Catholic Herald on the ever-popular British subject of disestablishment, Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith considers the position of established (and disestablished) religion in, among other countries, Russia, and delivers himself of the following assessment regarding Russian president Vladimir Putin:

Catholics who support Mr Putin (who do not of course live in Russia, where his regime’s popularity relies on a state-controlled media, and who have little idea what life in Russia is really like) are being used by the Russian dictator. Moreover, Putin’s anti-Westernism contains within it a profound anti-Catholicism, so Catholics who express admiration for Putin are in fact idolising an anti-Catholic, if they but knew it.

Perhaps indirectly related to current goings-on in Russia, there is a move afoot to append a prayer to all Masses that would (we are told, but do not quite see) entreat, among other things, the end of the persecution of Christians:

Almighty, ever-living God, your incarnate Son taught us that those who suffer for your name are blessed. Give love for their neighbor to all people of goodwill. Inspire rulers and governments to work tirelessly for peace, justice and freedom for all. Give us a spirit of solidarity and of service for those who suffer and who are poor, that we may bring to them that love your Son made manifest by his suffering and death on the cross. Help us to recognize the face of the Evil One in our day and give us the strength and means to confront his many works. Amen.

Mindful of tonight’s blasphemous Black Mass with which Harvard University sees fit to twit its Catholic neighbors, help in recognizing and combating Satan is a timely intention for which to pray.  On the other hand, considering how self-styled public “Catholics” have perverted the notions of “peace,” “justice,” and “solidarity” to deprecate marriage and family, one is impelled respectfully to suggest an alternative prayer such as the following:

O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord.

Of course, if you’ve attended a Traditional Low Mass today, you’ve already joined in this latter prayer, which was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1884 and was prayed from 1929 through 1964 for the conversion of Russia.  Even if you attend the Novus Ordo, why not start adding this prayer, if you haven’t already, to your thanksgiving after Holy Communion or spiritual communion — along with, say, three Hail Marys, a Hail Holy Queen, a Prayer to St. Michael, and three invocations of the mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

Solidarity with the suffering — the basis of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy — is a Christian duty, for fidelity in which it is worthy to entreat Almighty God.  Solidarity with the Communion of Saints would seem to be a good position from which to do so.

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