Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Awareness of American History

As you know I was assigned to our Philadelphia convent for a few years. During my last year there, I had the privilege of being present when Archbishop Charles Chaput was installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia. We can call Philadelphia the Cradle of American Liberty, since it was there that the Declaration of Independence was signed in July of 1776. On this Good shepherd Sunday, when we celebrate vocations and we pray for the shepherds of our Church, that we read from one of the nation's Shepherds who clearly states the role of religion in our American Society. The article is in the May issue of the magazine "First Things." Archbishop Chaput quotes Benjamin Franklin, ardent patriot as well as a wise man. Enjoy this article and remember to use it when you can. Otherwise we Catholic Christians may feel intimidated by outspoken critics of religion in our Western society. As St. Paul says, we need to evangelize whether it is "in season or out of season"--whether it pleases some or not.
In 1787, at the age of eighty-one, Benjamin Franklin addressed the Constitutional Convention: “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and byword down to future ages.”
What he said is still true. Even though the quotation is short, try to find the original article. It is well worth the read. What he writes is so true. May you enjoy a blessed Sunday and a week of joy and serenity. I will be praying for all my readers as I go on retreat.

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