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It is the Vatican that grants us the balanced way of viewing an election and did so with the historic election in the U.S. of a black president. In Christian love, the Pope congratulated Barack Obama, as did the U.S. bishops. Graciousness always has its place. So -- above all -- does prayer. We note the brilliance in how Rome issued a statement asking Catholics to "pray that God may enlighten" the new president. The Pope also sent a private letter to Obama that has not been revealed.

It is a prayer that could be requested of any leader but also could be interpreted (strongly) as a request for prayer that Obama soften his astonishingly strong support for abortion. Rome offered no harsh language. Instead, it accented the positive, saying that Obama has raised expectations on "justice and finding appropriate ways to promote peace in the world" -- an allusion to the Vatican's opinion on another life matter, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. On this issue, Rome agrees with the new leader.

It is an even-handed approach that should serve as an example to all of us.

Yet know too that we enter a very dangerous time. It is into an eleventh hour. We will not sugarcoat that.

Pray, love, and stand your moral ground. This is exactly what the U.S. bishops did. "Our country is confronting many uncertainties," they said in a letter to the president-elect. "We pray that you will use the powers of your office to meet them with a special concern to defend the most vulnerable among us and heal the divisions in our country and our world. We stand ready to work with you in defense and support of the life and dignity of every human person" -- a stronger allusion to abortion and human-embryonic stem cell research.

That latter issue -- the destruction of embryos -- left pro-lifers in a quandary: should they vote practically -- for the candidate who was more pro-life -- or one who is against all forms of human destruction? Senator McCain, who was gracious in defeat, defines life as starting at the moment of conception, is opposed to conventional abortion, and yet backs embryonic research.

It was a difficult election, one that all but entirely left out a brilliant black Catholic candidate named Alan Keyes who outdebated George Bush and John Kerry in the election four years ago and opposes every single form of prenatal destruction, including embryos. He was on the ballot in just three states.

For the first time, the United States of America is going to have a black president. That is the part people can rejoice in. The president-elect's intact family life will serve as an example at a time when so many families are fragmented.

This is a man of consummate skill and incisive intelligence. Even Republicans said he ran the best campaign they ever witnessed. He has much to offer. But he needs prayer...

The U.S. is a nation in flux and has gone around a bend. It will never be the same nation again. To change is not bad. But it depends on where that river courses and what the change is. That a man whose first name is so similar to that of Osama and whose middle one matches that of a dictator we fought (and who was hung so grotesquely) is eerie, as there are many eerie moments at this time in human history, as even during election week strange huge waves rose and lashed at Maine at three p.m. (the hour of mercy).

Many things in America were in desperate need of change. Follow Rome, not radio shows. We are not in the business of frothing at the mouth.

But there is a cloud, a spiritual darkness, that descends and vexes and rains into the river of uncertainty. Where will that river -- that rising water -- flow? We don't know who Obama is yet. We can pray for a lifting of spiritual blinders. We can pray that he gains discernment. Especially, we must pray that he (and the 111th Congress) head for the correct path as the clock ticks...

[resources: Tower of Light and Sent To Earth]

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