We Remember Our Freedoms
Greetings in Christ and sweet graces from our dear Mother Mary! Two weeks ago I wrote to you about Mary and the Memorare prayer. Here it is again:
Remember, O most compassionate Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I/we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my/our mother; to you do I/we come, before you I/we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my/our petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me/us. Amen!
That powerful prayer of intercession to our dear Lady begins with the word “Remember” or Memorare. This weekend we keep our memories trained on the many service men and women who have paid the ultimate price. We remember them. Veterans present have stood by them, and may recall former soldiers at arms with fondness and even questions: “Why am I here while they are not?” “Why do I have grandchildren while they can only be smiled upon in photographs?”
These questions do not have clear answers. It is a mystery. For us beneath the stars and stripes, they point to the preciousness of existence, to the sacredness of each human life, and to the deep truth that all life is directed toward sacrifice, self-offering, the handing over of our lives for a greater good. For Christians, the highest self-offering is martyrdom. Martyrdom means witness, to the point of giving our lives for our dearest gift, our Faith. Yes, our most precious gift is our beloved Catholic Faith. And in order, our second most precious gift is our dear nation and the values on which she stands.
Hence, the poignant words carved in stone above the East entrance of the Basilica at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana: God, Country, Notre Dame. (Notre Dame is my alma mater, so forgive my fondness if you are not a fan.) Still, these enshrined words help us to remember our priorities. Both the university and the country stand for ideals greater than ourselves, for higher truths that endure well beyond our own lives.
This weekend we remember those who have offered themselves so that the United States of America and its values and ideals would endure beyond their own generation. Two of those great ideals are under the attack of redefinition, of gradually attempting to shift their meaning: separation of church and state, and freedom of religion. I commend to your attention two short videos by Chris Stefanick, a modern lay evangelist and public speaker. He puts it much better than I can here. These are the links:
May God bless you, your families and this great nation this Memorial Day Weekend. And may the Lord give us the courage to defend American ideals from all threats, foreign and domestic. May God bless America!
Yours in Christ,