Monday, November 5, 2012

St. Clement's Prayer for Election Day



From the First Letter of St. Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, 60-61:

Make straight our steps in holiness and righteousness and singleness of heart, that we may so walk and do such things as are right and well pleasing before thee, and before our rulers. Yea, Lord, cause thy face to appear to us in peace to our good, that we may be sheltered by thy mighty hand, and preserved from all sin by thy lofty arm, and deliver us from those that hate us unjustly. Give unity and peace both to us and to all that dwell upon the earth, as thou gavest to our fathers when they called upon thee with faith and truth, so that we should become obedient to thy all-powerful and most excellent name, and to those who rule and govern us upon the earth.

Thou, Lord, hast given the authority of the kingdom to them through thy almighty and unspeakable power, so that we, knowing the estimation and honour given to them by thee, might submit ourselves to them, in no way opposing thy will; to whom give, O Lord, health, peace, concord, stability, so that they may discharge the rule given unto them by thee without offence; for thou, heavenly Lord, everlasting King, givest to the sons of men glory and honour and authority over the things that are upon the earth. Do thou, Lord, direct their counsel according to what is good and pleasing before thee, that, fulfilling with peace and meekness and piety the authority given unto them by thee, they may obtain mercy from thee. Thou who alone art able to do these and greater good things among us, to thee do we give thanks through the high priest and protector of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom to thee be the glory and majesty, now and to all generations, world without end. Amen.

This translation, by Charles H. Hoole (1885), comes from www.earlychristianwritings.com. I first encountered this prayer in Hugo Rahner's Church and State in Early Christianity, pp. 22-23, which we read in Richard Dougherty's course in Catholic Political Thought.
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