under God: joe biden and our nation

president joe biden chose fr leo donovan s.j. to pray the invocation at yesterday’s inauguration. there is a principle in faith called “lex orandi, lex credendi” : what we pray is what we believe. i hope that the words of the prayer are inspirational goals of our new president as he begins his service to the nation.

here are a few highlights from the prayer for me:

God was address as gracious and merciful. it may seem insignificant but it sets the tone for the rest of the invocation. God gives grace and God forgives us. these are aspects of God’s unconditional love and we live under this umbrella always and in all ways.

the prayer referenced the first presidential prayer from archbishop carroll for george washington. in it, counsel and fortitude were asked for the president. washington had these gifts of the Spirit; biden will have these gifts too in his deliberations.

we place our confession for our past failures under God’s mercy. and whenever we confess, there must be a change of heart. so the prayer was a renewal of vision. specifically, in the care for one another in word and deed. and in particular for our brothers and sister most in need.

the prayer asked for solomon’s heart of wisdom to know right and wrong. certainly biden will need God’s wisdom in what will face him.

and finally, the prayer referenced pope francis’ themes that we must dream together lest we risk seeing mirages. and that dreams are build together. and that it is the Holy Mystery of Love to reconcile the people of the usa and restore the dream of peace, justice, and joy. st paul would call this the dream of the kingdom of God driven by the Holy Spirit.

indeed, may our president have all the gifts of the Spirit as we strive for the common good of all the people in our nation. “…one nation, under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.



  1. I think the confessional of our failures and recognizing that we must have a change of heart will be a tough one. Examination of conscience can be difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frarthurcmf says:

      yes! it is difficult on a personal level. how much more on a communal and societal level? we need grace and the Spirit SO much!!

      Liked by 1 person

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