This Tuesday we celebrate the Fourth of July, Independence Day. On this day, we remember and appreciate in a special way the birth of our nation. As citizens, we continue to live in difficult and uncertain times, and there is much division and conflict in our nation. Much of this division and conflict is reported on our nightly news programs. We also live in a society that over the years has become more secular in its orientation. There are those in our society who want to take God out of schools, out of our homes, and out of our lives, and in the process are distorting our precious freedoms.
As Catholics, we are called to truly cherish the many freedoms we enjoy in this country. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently reminded us that there is a need to reaffirm our commitment to guard and protect our freedoms, especially our right to religious liberty. There is also a need to strengthen the moral foundation of our country, a moral foundation based on faith and trust in God. We are encouraged to pray that faith and trust in God may be enhanced in our nation through the example of our spiritual and political leaders.
In his visit to the United States in 2015, Pope Francis, speaking about Catholics in the United States, noted that “With countless other people of goodwill, they are likewise concerned that the efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”
As we reflect on these profound words, we are invited to pray “A PRAYER ON INDEPENDENCE DAY”:
Lord, on this anniversary of Independence Day, keep these United States under Your care.
Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the Earth.
Grant that we may choose trustworthy leaders,
contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare,
and serve You faithfully in our generation, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
As we celebrate Independence Day, we look forward to the time when our great nation will once again flourish, and we are encouraged to take time to thank God for the many freedoms we enjoy, and to reaffirm our commitment to protect and preserve those freedoms.