It's easy to see why Bishop Robert Barron, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is one of the most important leaders in American Catholicism. The gifted orator, theologian, and author leads Word on Fire, a global movement aimed at evangelizing the culture with millions of followers in the United States and around the world.
Last week, Bishop Barron took his movement to the nation's capital and delivered a powerful message to lawmakers: You are called upon by God to foster life, liberty, and justice. It was clear who the Catholic leader was referring to when, in an opening prayer in the House of Representatives, he summoned both parties to protect the most vulnerable in society: unborn children and the poor.
'This brought me to tears'
A video of the bishop's opening prayer and visit to Washington was published on his Facebook page Wednesday night and was immediately received with widespread praise.
"This brought me to tears," wrote one fan on the social media site.
Another said, "This gave me the chills."
Called by God: Bishop Barron in Washington, DC www.youtube.com
A transcript of Bishop Barron's invocation:
Oh God, source of all justice, you have summoned everyone in this chamber to walk the path of righteousness, to foster life and liberty, to care especially for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. Free these servants of yours, O Lord, from all of those attachments to wealth or power or privilege or fame that would prevent them from following the course you set out for them. Make them mindful of the time when they first heard your voice and followed it with idealism and enthusiasm. Illumine their minds, direct their wills, stir up in them a holy passion for doing what is right, despite the cost. Give them the knowledge that, whenever they strive for justice, they are pleasing to you. And shower, O Lord, your choicest blessings on our country. Amen.
Following the prayer, Barron, who has been a guest on the shows of Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, and Dr. Jordan Peterson, spoke at a reception on Capitol Hill with staffers and members of Congress from both parties.
"In Catholic theology, truth itself, goodness itself, justice itself are simply names for God," said the founder of Word on Fire to the standing-room only crowd. "When you find the moment in your life when you were seized by a passion for justice, you were called by God at that moment."