Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Freedom and Life

July letter to Praise Ministers [home-bound members of St. Joan of Arc Parish]:

I have always found it interesting that our country's founding fathers had to endure the humid heat of a Philadelphia summer while hammering out the Declaration of Independence. One of the consequences of their courage in approving Thomas Jefferson's work and putting their signatures to it (including Catholic Charles Carroll) was providing for religious freedom in the subsequent Bill of Rights. Even we Catholics found a place within this new nation to freely worship the Triune God by celebrating the Eucharist and attempt to follow in the footsteps of the Son. We can be grateful for this freedom and for a country in which we can raise children and grandchildren. By the same token, however, the freedom we possess must be maintained and nurtured. 

We all know, do we not, that over the past 38 years millions of unborn children have been denied the most basic freedom of all - life? I suspect that our country's founders would have been appalled by this incredible evil. Further, the evil that attacks unborn innocent life is threatening the elderly, the disabled, and the psychologically disturbed with euthanasia and assisted suicide. The dimensions of the threats to life are so pervasive that we can become numb to them or deny their reality. In parallel with anti-life movements, marriage, the best place for children to be born and thrive, is also under attack.
But, if we do acknowledge the bloody reality of unnatural death and the undermining of marriage, what can we do? Are we helpless? 

Prayer is, first and foremost, the foundational response. Let us offer our prayers, daily, to God the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit: (1) for mercy on our country for continuing to tolerate and even encourage this evil, (2) for bestowal of grace on political candidates to firmly commit to doing everything in their power to defend life and the family, (3) for inspiration for voters to select pro-life candidates, (4) for elected leaders to implement pro-life and pro-marriage constitutional amendmentsand laws, (5) for grace for pregnant women to deliver their children and either care for them or offer them for adoption, (6) for inspiration for young people to embrace chastity, (7) for the strengthening of marriages in the midst of cultural turmoil, and, (8) for the coming of the Kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem, where there will be no more tears, no more death or mourning, wailing or pain.

We also need to actively reach out to our political leaders -- admonish those who support the evils and encourage those who seek to nurture life. We need to affirm our religious leaders when they speak the truth. We should support pro-life movements with our prayers and financial resources to the extent we are able. 

Freedom is not free. It requires sacrifice and vigilance. The freedom of the sons and daughters of God needs to be sustained and regained with every generation. We are grateful to our veterans who fought for this freedom and for our young men and women who are presently fighting for us overseas. Yet, there is also a battle here at home, for the unborn, married people, the elderly, and the disabled. We need to redouble our efforts to restore respect for life and family.

Happy Independence Day!

Deacon Rex Pilger