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Violated: A President’s Visit

2012-obama-state-of-the-unionI awoke before dawn and was assaulted by the knowledge that today the President of the United States was coming to our little neck of the world. From the moment I heard about his little visit I had been torn, frustrated and angered.

Why here, why come to a high school in a remote southern section of Phoenix on the second day of class, when there is already sufficient confusion and anxiety.

Why indeed?

This twenty minute visit serves what purpose? To what positive end, what benefit will this brief visit provide for a hurting nation? I know what this stopover will do for us locally: disrupt traffic, add apprehension to an already charged atmosphere on campus, cause additional delays by the heightened security, as well as an influx of strangers on site. What cost will this spectacle be to tax payers and a nation already in extreme debt?

Rather than feeling honored at this visit, I felt violated. Like Ananias, I wanted to say to God, “Lord I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil he has done…” How I wished and prayed that this day might be more about his conversion, like Saul’s. Imagine the real good that a man in his position, influenced by the Holy Spirit might make.

This is the school that all five of our children attended. This is where our kids were educated. This is where we spent countless hours watching volleyball games, marching band performances, tennis and badminton games. We met friends here, formed relationships, laughed and cried. We sat on the bleachers in sweltering heat for five graduations.

This man  is my single biggest challenge in charity due to his assault on the unborn, his attack on religious freedom and his policies that continue to degrade and divide this great nation.

I began to weep as I prayed for answers. I picked up the greatest weapon I knew of, the Rosary. Tears cascaded down my cheeks and I let them soak into the olive wood beads.

“…deliver us from all evil.”

Lord, it is only so, because you allow it. Somehow all of these setbacks, tribulations, actions that seem to increase evil in the world and attachment to sin-you allow in your Divine providence. You have a plan. Never let me forget that. Your ways are greater and higher than my mind can understand. Help me trust in you. Let me feel your presence, and be an instrument for your work in the world.

“…lead all souls to heaven especially those most in need of your mercy.”

No one while living, is ever completely lost or without the need for prayers and mercy. Help me pray for the conversion of all sinners most of all myself. Let your mercy be upon us as we place our trust in you.

“…to thee do we send up our sighs mourning and weeping in this vale of tears…”

Mother Mary, you weep and intercede for all of your children. He is yours too; he is lost and is in need of conversion. We are all in this “exile” as we journey towards heaven. Help us turn to you in our mourning, in our pain, confusion and hopelessness. Lead us to your Son.

“…be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.”

We are not alone; we are not left to our own devices. All of heaven is fighting for us, interceding for us. There is a spiritual battle raging and there will be causalities. Pray that we will not be put to the test but knowing that if we are, you will give us the words, and the tools we need to fight.

As I concluded my prayers, I looked out the window and saw that a light rain was falling, a miracle in this dry desert. I wondered if heaven was weeping too at the state of humanity.

Perhaps there was a chance for a real storm after all, and maybe even some lightning too; the kind of light that comes from heaven and knocks people to the ground and they hear voices.


Barbara Lishko works full time as a Lay Catholic Marriage Minister. She and her husband Mark, an ordained Deacon, have been married for 35 years and are blessed with five young adult children, whose lives grow and expand through marriage and grandchildren.


Through the inspiration of her family, work in the Catholic Church and wacky life experiences her dream of writing was born. She is the recipient of the Diocese of Phoenix St Terese of Lisieux award. Barbara can be reached at blishko_58@yahoo.com


  • noelfitz

    Interesting article.

    Some time ago my wife, son and
    granddaughter went to Dalkey, Co Dublin, Ireland, which has a pub,
    “Finnegans” where Michelle Obama, her daughters, the singer Bono and
    his wife, with some others, were having lunch. There was a great
    holiday atmosphere, with Irish, American and other onlookers. We
    never got to see the Obamas but enjoyed the occasion.

    Finnegans was an appropriate venue, as it is Bono’s local, and the
    writer Maeve Binchy lived next door and used to eat there. Over the
    years my wife and I have also had good meals there. It is also of
    interest that Joe Biden’s mother was a Finnegan, and has granddaughter
    named Finnegan.

  • Frank

    Thank you for sharing this!
    I, too, often wonder what good the various trips and visits of Pres. O and entourage do, and what cost to the nation — money that perhaps could have been spent elsewhere, for greater good. And I am reminded of Judas’ question to Jesus — “Why was this oil not sold … and given to the poor?” (John 12:3). And then I am reminded that God has a plan, and I stop, pray for the conversion and salvation of all souls — mine included! — and give it all to our Father.
    May heaven open, and graces rain down upon us!

  • cheryl dickow

    I cry with you…

  • Allison Grace

    “My single biggest challenge in charity…” I can barely say, “Pray for the president” in our morning prayers with the kids. Thank you for sharing this; I’ll try to remember to offer a Rosary like you’ve done.

  • Mindboggled

    Garbage.

    • goral

      “Garbage” is right! The prez. can and does make a difference in his visits. He has the power and the influence to make matters better. To those who think that the prez. is not doing what he should, just think what you would do, as devout Catholics, in his position.
      Would you play less golf? Would you shoot less pool? Would you make less use of your pen and phone? Would you be more faithful to your christian name – Barak Husein Obama???
      Wait!…… there’s a discrepancy here. This petty dictator has turned things upside-down. Garbage is good and good is garbage. It does truly boggle the mind.

  • Mindboggled

    Wow. I cannot believe the utter absurdity of not only this piece of nonsense but the responses. A visit to a local high school by the POTUS brings the author to weeping and cascading tears? Feeling violated? She should know what it means to be violated. A spectacle? For real? And poor Allison has to find a way each morning to pray for President Obama. If that’s your biggest act of charity, Allison, I will start praying for YOU. Cheryl cries, too. And Goral just never makes sense. I am sure if at the time of this visit it was Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan, the defenders of the poor and less fortunate, who were coming to the local high school, Mrs. Lishko would have personally rolled out the red carpet for them. This article is nonsense, pure and simple. Was a time when Catholics were charitable in their actions and were capable of being respectful to our country’s leaders but now you are a new breed of Catholic and are nothing but shrill and mean-spirited. The only silver lining is that Mrs. Lishko was most likely in the minority that day. But nonetheless, I hope she had her smelling salts handy. And if not, at least a soft pillow on landing.