Independence Day

July 3, 2013

Freedom, God's gift.  Let us give thanks.

Freedom, God’s gift. Let us give thanks.


Tomorrow we celebrate Independence Day. In reflecting on the concept of independence, the most obvious questions are independence from what and independence for what. The events of those early years of this young nation show to us a people choosing the immense challenge of crossing an unknown sea as a way to flee the oppressive governments of their respective nations. They chose to flee because in their hearts was not only a desire to live free but also a desire to seek a greater good, to achieve that for which they had been created: to love and serve God who gave them life and to care for those he placed in their lives; a simple, but profound desire to live in freedom, loving God and neighbor.

God, who creates all life and endows human persons with the freedom to choose to love Him in return, places in our hearts that desire to seek Him, to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him, who is the Way, The Truth and the Life. Life and freedom are inseparable; most especially the freedom to love God who is the Creator of all.

Here are prayers from the Mass for this day, in which the church prays for peace, justice and truth. May these prayers be a source of fruitful meditation which inspires us to courageous action in God’s name.

Father of all nations and ages, we recall the day when our country claimed its place among the family of nations; for what has been achieved we give you thanks, for the work that still remains we ask your help, and as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation, grant that, under your providence, our country may share your blessings with all the peoples of the earth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen (Opening prayer/Collect)

It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks…for we praise you as the God of creation, as the Father of Jesus, the Savior of the world, in whose image we seek to live. He loved the children of the lands he walked and enriched them with his witness of justice and truth. He lived and died that we might be reborn in the Sprit and filled with love for all people. (Preface)

May the love we share in the Eucharist, heavenly Father, flow in rich blessing throughout our land and by your grace may we as a nation place our trust in you and seek to do your will. Through Christ our Lord. (Prayer after Communion)

May God bless America.

Related items of interest:
Open Letter, dated July 2, from U.S. Catholic Bishops and Southern Baptist Convention on Conscience Protection:
http://usccb.org/news/2013/13-134.cfm
Holy Father Pope Francis: Religious freedom often affirmed, not always put into practice:
http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-religious-freedom-often-affirmed-not-always-p
The Manhattan Declaration and list of Religious leaders who signed it:
http://manhattandeclaration.org/man_dec_resources/Manhattan_Declaration_full_text.pdf
http://manhattandeclaration.org/man_dec_resources/list_of_religious_leaders.pdf

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