In college, I had an amazing roommate that suggested the two of us and a group of friends do a 24 hour bread and water fast leading up to a big election one year. It was probably the most intense fast I’d ever done up until that point and it was really powerful in a lot of ways. We literally had water all day, and when we needed strength we’d grab some type of bread to eat to make it through the day of classes as we prayed for the election. I felt like I was really doing all that I could to vote and pray in that election.
Now that we’re in an election year and the stakes are high for a good candidate in line with Catholic teaching, I keep thinking it’s time to get serious again and do our part as not just citizens of this country, but also as citizens of heaven (Phillippians 3:20, Catechism of the Catholic Church 2796). In other words, to vote as dual citizens – of this country and of our (hopeful) future home of heaven as God’s children.
Here are some ideas this election season to do all we can as dual citizens:
- Spend time forming your conscious as a Catholic voter. Read the “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” by the USCCB for a solid resource to get you going in the right direction.
- Attend election rallies of the candidates supported by Church teaching.
- Monetarily support candidates that uphold the dignity of life and Church teaching.
- Go to the polls and vote when election days come.
- For 24 hour leading up to any election (but especially the November election), fast from something that will really make you pray. Bread and water if you know you can handle that and still fulfill the duties of your state of life.
- The day of an election, choose to eat only foods you really hate and offer up the suffering for the candidates, voters, and our country. Soup with no salt for breakfast, sardines on toast for lunch, and perogies for dinner would be a serious offering up for me.
- Do hourly Novenas on the day of the election. My favorite for an urgent intention is the Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Padre Pio prayed this daily for those who asked for his prayers.
- Offer up a 54-day Rosary Novena leading up to the election. Be specific in your 27 days of petition and don’t forget to do the 27 days of thanksgiving no matter what the outcome seems to be.
- Sleep without a pillow for the month leading up to a major election. Every time you’re tempted to grab it at night, pray a Hail Mary for the candidates.
- Choose one day each week as a fasting day specifically for candidates and for voters to be fully informed. Offer up any small fast and have your family join you if they’re able. Keep it up through the election.
- Go to daily Mass whenever possible for the specific intentions of the election. (If you’re not sure when local Mass times are or you’re traveling, be sure to check out this site for a listing of Mass times throughout the U.S.)
- Go to adoration and pray for each candidate by name. (You can search for local adoration chapels in your area or any part of the country here.)
- Offer up a Divine Mercy Chaplet every day for the conversion of our country. (The full text with prayers is right here if you’ve never prayed it or need a little refresher.)
- Ask any past Presidents in purgatory or heaven to pray for the current candidates and American voters (this would be a general prayer – since only God knows for sure the state of those souls, specific names aren’t recommended). And don’t forget to pray for the souls of past Presidents in return.
- Beg for the intercession of American Saints. There’s a full list of American Saints and Blesseds here.
What are you doing to take part in the elections this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!