The Happy Priest Reflects on the Fourth of July and Our Challenges
It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams
What America needs now more than ever is God. Yes, America is a good country. Pope Pius XII, at the end of World War II, recognized this when he said: "The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind." However, we all know too well, that our nation is presently challenged by many difficulties. Not only is the threat of terrorism a daily source of anxiety and fear, the rapid unraveling of every sense of moral decency is alarming.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Our country is a good country. Despite our problems and challenges, our shores have provided freedom and opportunity for millions of people.
In his First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1981), President Ronald Reagan said: "If we look to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here, in this land, we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth."
Yes, America is a good country. Pope Pius XII, at the end of World War II, recognized this when he said: "The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind."
However, we all know too well, that our nation is presently challenged by many difficulties. Not only is the threat of terrorism a daily source of anxiety and fear, the rapid unraveling of every sense of moral decency is alarming.
For almost four decades the issue of abortion has been on the forefront of a cultural war. The approximate number of known legal abortions in this country alone since Roe v. Wade is staggering to the imagination: 54, 448, 417.
New issues have entered into the battlefield.
Attempts to alter God's plan for marriage rage on as numerous states redefine their marriage laws.
The Federal government expands its intrusive tentacles into the Catholic Church, trampling upon religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
Ronald Reagan understood the solution.
As he was sworn into office he placed his hand on the Bible that was owned by his devout Christian mother.
The Bible was marked to The Second Book of Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14 which was his favorite Scripture passage.
"If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land."
What America needs now more than ever is God.
A great spiritual renewal is urgently needed to keep us from falling further into the abyss of immorality and chaos.
However, a spiritual renewal must never excuse us from the political life of our country.
As Catholics we have a moral obligation to vote.
As Catholics we have a moral obligation to vote for those candidates who will best defend life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.
As Catholics we have a moral obligation to vote for those candidates who will uphold the sanctity of marriage.
As Catholics we have a moral obligation to vote for those candidates who will safeguard our religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
Again, going back to Reagan's First Inaugural Address he said: "It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government.
It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams.
We are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline.
I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do.
I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.
So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope."
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Fourth of July, ronald reagan, abortion, gay marriage, religious liberty, freedom of conscience, vote, presidential elections
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