Real independence: Weekly Message for 07-02-2024

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Roman Missal for U.S. dioceses contains a section, Proper of Saints, which includes the special texts for Masses for saints’ feast days. Some of the most poignant texts are those used in a Mass that isn’t even for a saint: the one for Independence Day, July 4.

A Prayer Over the Offerings, for instance, says:

Father, who have molded into one our nation, drawn from the peoples of many lands, grant that, as the grains of wheat become one bread / and the many grapes one cup of wine, so we may before all others be instruments of your peace.

Holding up the ideal of unity that should reign among people, those words could inspire any country, not just the U.S.

Independence at the profound level means detachment from the shallow allures of the world and even from our own whims, allowing us to be better disciples of Our Lord.

The Mass texts for Independence Day can help us do a conscience exam, to see whether we are using our God-given talents to  build unity in the Church and the world.

Certainly, the Gospel message can be a cause of division. But where it can sink deepest roots, it builds unity in a transcendent way.

Proposing the Gospel in a world torn by strife isn’t easy. But it’s the best message we can offer.

If it seems daunting to talk about Christ and his good news to those around us, then we should pray for the grace to be bold. To that end, it might be worthwhile to pray with Be Not Afraid: A Retreat Guide on St. John Paul II.

John Paul II knew his share of strife in life. Imitating his courage and focus on Christ can help teach us what real independence entails.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
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