What a day! I have to tell you that I am so proud of all of you. So many people from many parts of the diocese made it to the cathedral yesterday – the Fourth of July – for the Mass we celebrated in thanksgiving to God for the blessings of liberty and the opportunity to live in this great country. Our cathedral was nearly filled with faithful Catholics who value the gifts of freedom that are guaranteed by our founding documents. Citizenship in these United States, however, certainly requires vigilance from us. There are always those who will fight to remain enslaved to ideologies and philosophies contrary to those expressed in those hallowed documents. We celebrated the Author of liberty and freedom as we bowed our heads, listened to God’s Word, received Him into our hearts and went forth to proclaim His presence in the world in us.
Thanks to all the faithful and good pastors of our diocese who made freedom ring from the bell towers of our parish churches across Wisconsin. That was another act of liberty and a simple proclamation that we are here and we are not going away…
Just let me close by sharing a few quotes from the homily of Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia during the Mass he celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. I think you may find some further food for thought and inspiration.
The Archbishop spoke, quoting Paul Claudel, the French poet and diplomat of the last century, who once described the Christian as, “A man who knows what he is doing and where he is going in a world [that] no longer [knows] the difference between good and evil, between yes and no. He is like a god standing out in a crowd of invalids. … He alone has liberty in a world of slaves.”
Continuing, Archbishop Chaput said, “We’re free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God’s plan. When we do this, when we choose to live according to God’s intentions for us, then – and only then – will we be truly free.
“This is the freedom of the sons and daughters of God. It’s the freedom of Miguel Pro, of Mother Teresa, Maximillian Kolbe, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and all the other holy women and men who have gone before us to do the right thing, the heroic thing, in the face of suffering, adversity and death.
“This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world. And it should animate all of our talk about liberty – religious or otherwise.”
And I sure hope to see you at Sunday Mass!