Happy Independence Day, fellow Americans!
THE FOLLOWING IS AN UPDATED REPRINT OF THIS BLOG POST
This July 4th may be the most significant anniversary of our nation's history since 1776. The destiny of the United States of America to be the "land of the free" stands at the edge of knife that is slowly cutting through what remains. It will be left to the brave to reclaim America's soul in what is mounting up to be 1776 2.0.
This time the choice is freedom under God or communism under the anti-God. Or as Venerable Fulton Sheen put it, "It is either brotherhood in Christ or comradeship in anti-Christ." There is neither freedom nor unity for any nation unless it truly lives "under God." Possessed by any other spirit leads to division and confusion of identity as the demon of the possessed young man in Scripture shouted: "My name is Legion for we are many." Confusion, division and violence against the individual . . . key marks of the demonic.
Our Founding Fathers understood the importance of declaring that at the nation's soul are certain inalienable rights that come from God alone and which, therefore, no secular power has the authority to infringe upon. This truth was confirmed by our nation's second president, John who said,
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
No nation, no matter the greatness and nobility of its beginnings, has a chance at survival unless it holds fast to its religious and moral foundations -- and in the case of America and the West, its Christian moral foundations. And in less than two centuries, the truth of John Adams' words were confirmed as Fulton Sheen announced in 1943 that America was in decline because of its progressive rejection of these foundations:
"We are at the end of an era of history, just as definitely as Rome was at the end of an era when Alaric knocked at its Salarian gates. The difference between that crisis and ours is that in the case of Rome a material civilization was collapsing and a spiritual about to emerge. In the present instance, it is the spiritual which is being submerged and the material which is in the ascendency. . . .
". . . Our so-called liberal civilization, which is dying, is only a transitional phase between a civilization that once was Christian and one that is anti-Christian. It has no stability of its own, being based for the most part in successive negations of the Christian philosophy of life. It will end either in a return to the Christian tradition or in revulsion against it. This alone constitutes the crisis of democracy; it will either return to its roots or die." (Philosophies at War, 1943)
One talk I like to give is on Fulton Sheen’s "Way to Happiness". At first hearing, the title might sound so generic and unappealing. But, the reality is, as Fulton Sheen saw in his time and prophetically in ours, we live in an extremely unhappy world. We are surrounded by discontent. Why? Well, as Sheen put it, those who are discontent on the inside spread discontent on the outside. Put another way by Sheen: “Those who are not at war with themselves are at war with everybody else.”
Today, Americans celebrate independence from the crown of England. The spirit behind that desire for independence is captured in one line that stands out from our Declaration of Independence:
“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
There's a great clip in the film National Treasure when treasure hunter/"protector", Benjamin Gates, zeroes in on that critical line of the Declaration of Independence and then interprets it simply by saying: "It means, if there's something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action."
Once applied to the American colonies wanting separation from England, now we find the entire western world waking up to such abuses and usurpations, but on a far greater scale — which is self-evident for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Moreover, they are even more dangerous today because the world has embraced what Pope Benedict XVI declared a “dictatorship of relativism,” where those words of the Declaration of Independence have loss their objective meaning. Nothing in letter matters anymore. It's all about "the spirit of __________" "Oh, it's a living document..."-- all of which are just semantical ways of saying you can make anything mean whatever you want it to be for your own agenda.
And in a world where the masses no longer think for themselves and follow catch-phrases and slogans, they follow this poisonous relativism that is now playing itself out with violence.
And so, in our relativistic society, Satan has twisted the meaning of words so that a word like“despotism” now means that what was once (and is always) good is now oppressive (principles like self-control, discipline, right to worship God, etc.). So the masses will say, “Yeah, let’s get rid of our government and form a new one that is not oppressive, patriarchal and anti-‘choice’, and eliminates the sexual difference, etc.” It's not that they don't want any government. What they clamor and riot for, however, is really atheistic Communism.
Why are all these social experiments failing and why is America at the threshold of its own implosion? I believe the American prophet for our times, Fulton Sheen provides the answer — back in the early 1940s:
The means of life no longer minister to peace and order because we have perverted and forgotten the true ends of life . . . Now the basic reason why our economics and politics have failed as a means to peace is that both have forgotten the end and purpose of life. We have been living as if civilization, culture and peace were by-products of economic activity, instead of the other way round, so that economics and politics are subordinated to the moral and the spiritual . . . It is not our politics that has soured, nor our economics that have rusted; it is our hearts. We live and act as if God had never made us. ( Philosophies at War)
So, the biggest question America and the West must answer when they ponder all of our modern "declarations of independence" . . . from God, government, Christian morality, natural law, etc., is not so much what they want to be free from, but what they are free for. Otherwise, any declarations of independence are inevitably declarations of a worse slavery to come.
FREEDOM, GREATNESS AND HUMILITY
If we want to “make America great,” as we hear in slogans today, we have to understand what real greatness is built upon. Real greatness is found when mankind seeks to be refashioned into God’s image (which is being twisted through all the gender ideology) and His likeness. And a nation's glory is only such when it reflects the glory of Go,, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us is “the Holy Spirit, who is the giver of life.”
So, when St. Irenaeus says, "The Glory of God is man fully alive," he is speaking of man living a fully integrated Christian life -- body, soul and spirit -- each of which is meant to be perfected by God's grace. That is the glory to which our nation should always aspire!
Therefore, a civilization is free only to the extent that it lives a true life in the Holy Spirit, the life-giving, self-sacrificing Love of the Father and the Son. And America and the West have chosen a path for centuries that has moved them away from living in God’s glory.
They have instead chose the counterfeit lie of the serpent who tells man, “We don’t need God, we just need ‘science’” (scientia, from which the word “knowledge” is derived), which we can discover on our own — where the more we advance in science, the more “we will be like gods knowing good and evil.”
And what has resulted and what has been been put into a warp speed is the greatest scientific dictatorship the world has ever seen. And the enemies of God and man pulled it off using a virus that has a 99.96% survival rate.
Just look at how the Church has bowed to the demands of the state and its new priestly class of "medical experts" chosen only by the state. The Church never capitulated like this in its history. It's precisely in times of crisis (physical, moral and spiritual) where the Church steps more into the arena than run away. These are the moments in the history of the world when the great saints rise up.
Now just reflect a moment on the rapid scientific advancements that have been made since the world make a conscious decision to reject God and absolutize the human intellect as the source of enlightenment. Where has that path taken us? Not to love, not to life, not to peace, not to freedom. It has taken us to the complete opposite and the world is now just beginning to wake up to this frightening reality.
Now the world is waking up to this king of all lies and is recognizing the slavery that comes with accepting them. However, it has abandoned God, so where do we turn to rebuild?
If we want to make room once again for God in our hearts, in our families, in our nations and in the world, we have to tear down the false towers we have built via our egos and our pride, and rebuild a new civilization that has a firm foundation in humility. As Fulton Sheen said (in 1953!):
“The higher the building the deeper the foundation; the greater the moral heights to which we aspire the greater the humility. . . . Modern man has been humiliated: neither his proud expectations of progress nor of science have turned out as he hoped. Yet he has not quite reached the point of humbling himself. He is still imprisoned in the self, and able to see nothing else beyond. The psychoanalyst may be allowed to bore into his thoughts for a few years more; but the time is not far off when modern men will utter a frantic appeal to God to lift them from the empty cistern of their own egos.” (Sheen, Way to Happiness)
I invite all Americans and nations of Europe — any and all nations who truly want freedom — especially all who have deep Catholic roots — let us begin to rebuild this collapsing world order with the foundation of humility and do so one family at a time. It all starts with the family. As St. Paul II said, "As the family goes, so goes the nation and the world in which we live."
Where to start? Well, is your family praying the rosary every day as Our Blessed Mother told us to do at Fatima? She said repeatedly, "Pray the rosary for peace and an end to the war." Leadership starts in our homes. As Fulton Sheen said,
"If we would remake the world, we must begin by remaking the individual; then the institutions will be good enough, for they will resemble the good men who made them."
THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA
Our nation needs a great purification from its sins and progressive Godlessness. We need God to mercifully deliver us from the mess we created.
May our conversations not be so much about what we want to be free from, but what we are free for. May our efforts stem not from what we can do with the advancements of science and technology, but what we ought to do. That is true freedom, true patriotism.
It does not take a PhD in history and economics to see that we are in for very trying days in the immediate months and years ahead as we witness the collapse of our nation from its acquiescing to a culture of death and slavery. But we Christians rejoice when the world announces new “dark ages”, because this is where the Church shines—and she must shine. She must only have the courage to let her light illumine the darkness.
OUR LADY OF THE NEW RENAISSANCE
This is what Our Blessed Mother and all the saintly popes of the last 200 years have been preparing us for. Even Sheen shared these sentiments when he said: “Times are bad!! They have never been worse; for never before has a world civilization turned against the Divine Light.”However, in nearly the same breath, he is quick to reassure us, “Our greatest days are ahead!” and “we are living on the eve of one of the great spiritual revivals of human history.”
May this renaissance, the new civilization to come, begin not with a declaration of independence, but with a declaration of dependence -- dependence on the love, the truth, the mercy, the providence, the power and the Glory of God. And may that path back to God always be based upon an unswerving confidence in the great care and guidance of Our Blessed Mother to whom this nation is consecrated under her title "The Immaculate Conception."
Only when we surrender ourselves to her path immaculateness (sinlessness) -- to become pure of heart -- will our nation see and discover once again the God who made us in freedom for freedom--a freedom that is only true when we place our trust and obedience in His law and see His image in every person. Only then will find itself again and be worth of the title "the land of the free." Who will be "the brave" to free her once again?
"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).
O Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our HOPE, patroness of the United States, pray for us!
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