“We Mutually pledge to each other”
“…and for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
As we listen to these precious words from our U.S. Declaration of Independence, we US Christians would have to agree with Chairman Mao and Carl Marx that… “revolution is a constant occupation!” Each celebration of a revolution whether it be 4th of July, Bastille Day, Canada Day, or our birthday …should remind us that we are in the midst of a revolution. We need that mindfulness if we wish to live in the glorious freedom of the children of God. We must constantly keep turning away from the slavery of self, from our slavish rituals, personal and religious, to be filled with joy and contentedness about life…that happiness that we have “the right” to pursue.
It happens in the struggle to be free of our false gods, and superstitions and our melo-dramas that we blow up beyond their actual size. And proclaim from our guts our dependence on the grace of God.
We have to be willing to break our habits and habitual ways of being, especially those, “I HAVE A RIGHT TOs.” Freedom classically is bound up with “RIGHTS”: The right to choose, to own, to bear arms. But maybe it is time (if we are going to survive) that we put aside our preoccupation with “RIGHTS” language… for an even stronger language of responsibility, “the ability to respond!”
Our secular U.S. version of the freedom ideal is a vehicle for making choices. But if we look into the Jewish and Christian Bible, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism we find a very different idea…True human Freedom is FREEDOM FROM EGO AND FREEDOM FOR TRUTH.
In this Eucharist, we commit our lives fortunes and sacred honor to that revolution that changes hearts and gives hearts to our society and its governance. And we celebrate that place where all truly great revolutions begin…in the quiet of the human heart.
So, In the grand sweep of history, what will this generation of America history be known for?Ambulances and firetrucks fill the street noises of central Phoenix. They wail out our love for the individual & individualism or is it just simply the dignity of every human person. Multiculturalism fills our dreams and racial equality, a generous society built on pluralism and the common good. We hope. We pray.
A gentle week,
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM