In the past, I have felt compelled to catalog and record when I have seen what I felt to be evidence of militarism in the Catholic Church. It was a refreshing weekend last weekend when I attended The Church of the Blessed Sacrament as a guest on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I should catalog also positive experiences!
Instead of wincing and cringing during the Prayers of the Faithful, I was delighted and refreshed. Instead of praying exclusively for soldiers and first responders (agents of the state), we prayed for “all victims of war.” I think the word “victims” is appropriate, and of course this kind of prayer does not implicitly endorse the wars or the choice some make to participate in them. The fact that we are at war was acknowledged several times, but not in such a way that the liturgy could be mistaken for a nationalistic pep rally. The best part was that at the end of the Prayers of the Faithful, the congregation sang a brief version of “This is My Song.” It was beautiful!
THIS IS MY SONG (Jan Sibelius - 1899 / Wds Lloyd Stone - 1934) Finlandia This is my song, O God of all the nations, A song of peace for lands afar and mine. This is my home, the country where my heart is, Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine. But other hearts in other lands are beating, With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine. My country's skies are bluer than the ocean, And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine. But other lands have sunlight too, and clover, And skies are everywhere as blue as mine. O hear my song, thou God of all the nations, A song of peace for their land and for mine.