Basically, there are only four kinds of prayer that we can offer to God. They are praise (also called adoration or worship, and based upon love); thanksgiving; contrition or apology for our sins, and petition—asking God for what we want and believe that we need.
Now, this Thursday we will celebrate our national day of thanksgiving. While thinking about that in the context of today’s gospel at Mass, in which Jesus heals ten lepers and only one returns to thank him for his healing, I had a rather facetious inspiration. When I am elected to congress (I bet you didn’t even know I was running for it!) I am going to introduce a bill that would call for FOUR national holidays: 1. a day of adoration, 2. the day of thanksgiving which we already have, I am happy to note, 3. a day of apology for our sins (as our Jewish friends have on their annual Yom Kippur, the day of atonement), and then 4. a day of solemn asking for what we, as a nation, need.
There is VERY little chance of my being elected to congress, and just as little that those three other national holidays are going to be instituted in our country. In fact, I’m surprised that the atheists of our country and the ACLU have not already tried to get rid of Thanksgiving Day. But just because we don’t have national holidays for those purposes, that doesn’t mean that you and I can’t pray fervently and often to praise God, apologize to him, and ask him for what we need as a nation. Let us do so, my dear friends. Let us see ourselves as representatives of all Americans, all Christians, all Catholics and say, with all the devotion of our hearts: we praise you, Dear Lord, we thank you, we ask your forgiveness, and we beg you to give us those things we need.
Lord, teach us to pray!
Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.