Happy Independence Day!!

Today, we are called to celebrate the birth of the United States of America! There will be parades, displays of fireworks, and of course speeches. I wonder what tone these speeches will take; either a call for all peoples to come together; or will politics takeover. There are times when, after hearing the speeches, the interviews, the commentaries; that I want to shout out “A pox on both your houses!”

To paraphrase, these words from the Declaration of Independence continue to move me; “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all persons are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights., that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words have inspired many, both in this country and abroad to work for their fulfillment here and now. It is also true that the interpretation of these words has lead to fierce debate, arguments, strife, and a Civil War. There continues be fierce debate over how these rights are to be implemented, with little effort to seek common ground.

We are entering, I believe, a time of strife, both nationally, and internationally, where words like “discussion,” and “compromise” are considered weak, equal to “surrender!” There is little respect for the views of others, no addressing what might be causing the fears that drive people to radical beliefs and actions.

Perhaps the world needs to learn the concept of “synodality” as the Catholic Church is beginning to learn about it now. One definition of it is “listening.” Listening to the hopes and desires, the joys and the fears, what they want this country to be; and not be judgmental, but learn about the other. And in learning, finding common ground.

What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.” The Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue.