Spirituality for Today – July 2014 – Volume 18, Issue 12


Rev. Mark Connolly

A photo of the American Flag

When you consider all the words that have been spoken about immigration to our country, it becomes very obvious to those trying to enter our country with all our faults and failings, we are one of the greatest countries in the world. Failures we have in this country, but compared to other countries we have four qualities that most countries lack. Freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom to assemble, freedom to worship.

First, freedom from want. When you think of the fact that over two billion people in this world live on less than $2.00 a day, our financial problems, though they are tough, do not compare with the abject poverty that other people are experiencing in Haiti and other Third World Countries.

Freedom from fear. If you look at all these countries like China and Pakistan, you soon know you have to be guarded in what you say and do for fear of being arrested. Those who lived in Germany in the time of the Gestapo and Stalin and Nazi's knew what fear was.

Freedom to assemble. When you look back at 1989 in Tiananmen Square, it was very clear that to assemble and protest was quite a dangerous practice. It has not changed that much.

Freedom to worship. There are about 65 million Catholics in this country and freedom to worship is never a problem. In China or Russia, if you read Parade Magazine, you will find the story of three people who came to this country and appreciate freedom more than most Americans.

These four freedoms are the envy of the world.

If you go back to the day of our founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Adams, they were willing to oppose England at the risk and even cost of their lives so that you and I centuries later could have those precious freedoms.

The soldiers who lost their lives in the Revolutionary War, the over 600,000 in the Civil War, the soldiers in Vietnam who number over 52,000, the 51,000 soldiers in Korea, the over 2,500 soldiers today in Iraq, have paid a severe and heavy price so that you and I can have our cookouts, our golf games. Those men from the past like Jefferson, Adams, Henry, who have given their lives in the past to protect our country at war were likewise heroes.

If you just go back in recent years to 9/11, and think of the policemen, firemen and all involved during that tragedy and afterwards (the nurses, doctors and all who helped who got involved), all of these Mr. & Mrs. America protected our way of life so that America in the future could always have these four freedoms.

This month of July should be a reminder to all of us how grateful we should be for the sacrifice others in the past have made so that you and I can enjoy our freedom.

It should remind all of us that someone in the past and present paid with their sacrifice and life so that you and I can have what we have. It should jolt our thinking so that we ask what I am doing to protect our country.

The other day I saw on television a flag draped coffin being brought into a home in Kentucky and the split screen showed another group burning the flag. The same flag had cost the life of the young soldier. One was defending our freedom, the other was abusing it. True Patriotism means we leave our country better than we found it.