The following remarks were presented by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, at the National Day of Prayer Interfaith and Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast for Unity, held at the Tripoint campus in San Antonio on May 4.
My dear friends, on this National Day of Prayer people from every walk of life, and from many different faiths, are gathering in our cities, State Capitals, and our National Capital. We gather to remind each other of our dependence upon Almighty God for all the blessings we know in this country, and to ask for God’s guidance — that we may be a nation, a people, worthy of his blessings. We are also reminded that the freedom to express our faith, and to live our lives by faith’s moral callings, are among the first freedoms we enjoy as Americans. So now, we in San Antonio stand together with our fellow Americans this day, and we ask for God’s blessings upon our city of San Antonio, our state of Texas, and our United States of America.
In recent days I have been moved by the words of Abraham Lincoln, when he gave his second inaugural address. The Civil War was in its final days, and many people were calling for recriminations to be expressed in our society. But Abraham Lincoln understood that we needed to be one people, united in purpose and love of nation. It was not a time for recriminations, but rather, a time when mercy was needed to bind the nation’s wounds.
Lincoln said: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
President Lincoln was a politician, and not a theologian! Yet, we know that real faith was beating in his heart, and that he was calling us to unity. At a time when we have been through great national debates, and as we approach our elections within this city, let us ask for God’s blessings.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds…”
Let us pray. O God, you have made all things, most especially the human person in your own image and likeness. Send forth, we ask you, the Holy Spirit of your love upon our nation and our city, that we may be a people of charity and Godly justice. Bind us together as one. Do not allow differences of opinion to disunite us, but help us to stand as the guardians of each one’s freedom and dignity. Send your wisdom upon our elected leaders and public servants, that they may keep us living in safety, liberty, and with the opportunity to accomplish much good in our moment of history. Make us attentive to the needs of the orphan and the widow, the poor and the sick, and all persons in need of protection. You have taught us, O God, that our care for the weakest among us is the measure of our morality as a nation. Give us firm purpose in doing what is right and good. We ask this in your most Holy Name. Amen.