Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Granted that this is a holiday, not a holy day, but I always like to connect a spiritual meaning to every American holiday, because there is so much to be thankful for, both for blessings received and also for the freedom we cherish. This is the kind of freedom that so many other countries still do not have. Just over the past few decades, we recall countries like Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan, Israel and the entire Middle East, many African countries, as well as Communist countries that have never experienced any form of freedom of speech and religion, whose citizens have suffered so much.
The Declaration of Independence has great significance to the American people because it is what led to our independence from England and King George III. The Declaration of Independence justified our right to revolt against a government that no longer guaranteed us our natural rights and stated certain ideals that were important for us to have, such as liberty and equality.
One of the most important sentences is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration also plays a significant role in our world today and in recent history. It is because of the words in that document that women are now treated the same as men and that all races are treated equally. Without the words of our founding fathers some of the civil rights that have been passed might never have come to light.
So let us pray today for those who are still suppressed and cannot enjoy any semblance of freedom. Let us pray  in gratitude that we can speak freely, worship according to our personal beliefs (at least until now,) travel according to our needs or wishes, write whatever is on our mind and in our heart, and celebrate joyously every holiday that our country cherishes. 
I can tell you that my home country of Malta also got its Independence from England in 1964, and it was a peaceful transition, and we still have great respect towards the British, because they helped Malta so much, built many places and helped us tremendously during World War II. So, as we remember our freedom and Independence, let us also remember our dependence on each other – we are brothers in sisters in Christ, we share the earth, and even though we do not agree on everything, we can always be cordial, respectful, appreciative and collaborative of each other. As Roman Catholics, we also somehow gained independence form our Christian denominations, which actually broke away from us, but we do have a friendly ecumenical rapport with them, as recent Popes have bridged the gap and got them closer to us, as they were before.
And last but not least, let us remember the members of our Armed Forces who protect our freedom and keep our country safe. May they always remain safe themselves, and we pray for an end to all hostilities, especially in those countries where their rulers act more like tyrants. May freedom be celebrated by all men and women of goodwill, not just today, but everyday of our lives.

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