Here’s a quick seven things I am grateful for this 4th of July. Happy Independence Day, y’all!
Though I have NOT been grateful for the hateful, ugly, and painful discourses it has ignited on social media, I’m glad for the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this week in the Hobby Lobby case. As Catholics, we certainly identify with the Green family’s moral objection to paying for employees’ abortifacient contraception. May God bless them, and may those of us who have friends and family lashing out over this decision remember that we are all in different pats of our spiritual journeys, and that we should respond with love and empathy. Though it may be hard to endure and to not take their insults personally, we must continue to pray for our loved ones and for our nation. The Gospel reading for Tuesday was Matthew 8:23-27. When I read this selection, the day after the Supreme Court ruling, I completely identified with the disciples. I was in the boat, rocking in the wind and waves during that tumultuous storm, and fearing our country would drown. And Jesus is seemingly asleep! But oh how convicted I was by Christ’s admonition:
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
And just like that, my anxiety lessened. He will calm the storm. We are called to great faith.
I’m truly looking forward to celebrating today with some wonderful friends, with whom we’ve spent the last several Independence Days. When it’s all said and done, over 25 kids and 30 adults will gather for bbq, beverages, fruit, desserts, queso, guacamole, and lots of laughter. And…my kids’ favorite part…the monster water slide of awesomeness. What a blessing to be able to share this day amongst our close friends!
Our “Must Make” dessert that we bring to this function every year is the delicious Golden Corral knockoff Banana Pudding. This stuff is so good, we fill an entire roasting pan by quadrupling the recipe…and we never come home with leftovers! It’s not clean eating, but we only do it a few times a year, so…mmmmmmm.
My brother, who recently graduated high school, is passionate about his patriotism. While other seniors quoted Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga (I wish I were exaggerating) in their yearbook, he chose a quote from the Declaration of Independence. He shared this video today on Twitter and his facebook page. It’s a great, straightforward reading of the Declaration. If you’ve never read it, or just would like to review, you can find it here:
One of my favorite people in the history of ever – Venerable Fulton J. Sheen – had this to say about liberty:
“A spirit of license makes a man refuse to commit himself to any standards. The right time is the way he sets his watch. The yardstick has the number of inches that he wills it to have. Liberty becomes licenseand unbounded license leads to unbounded tyranny. When society reaches this stage, and there is no standard of right and wrong outside of the individual himself, then the individual is defenseless against the onslaughts of cruder and more violent men who proclaim their own subjective sense of values.”
One July 4th when I was a teenager, my mom suggested that we go as a family to Mass in the morning. We all looked at her strangely. The pool needed to be vacuumed, there were sparklers and firecrackers to purchase, and Daddy had a brisket that needed to smoke for 10 hours. We did NOT have time to go to Mass. Why should we, anyway? Independence Day isn’t a Holy Day. Well, she ignored our whining and my dad’s forlorn stare at his marinating brisket sitting in the fridge, and hauled us out the door. And oh how glad I was that she did! The hymns were all patriotic, and the priest gave a moving homily on how blessed we are to live in a land free of religious persecution. The 4th degree Knights of Columbus were there, and it was a very beautiful Mass. Ever since, we’ve done our best to attend, and I’ve been happy to pass this tradition on to our kids. Do you have a Mass you can attend today? I encourage you to take an hour out of your celebrations today to give thanks to God for this beautiful land He has given to us. Especially in light of the heightened persecution of Christians around the world presently, has there ever been a better time to offer praise and thanks for the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave?
Dear Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, please bless our country and draw our nation ever closer to You. Happy Birthday, America!
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