What a wonderful weekend! My Independence Day weekend started out Saturday morning outside my church. A large group of us gathered to say the Patriotic Rosary. If you are not familiar with it, it is one of my favorite prayers for our nation. Each rosary has 5 decades. We have 50 states. So each states is particularly prayed for as we go through our rosary. In between the decades, we pray for different levels of government leaders, have a short reading of a famous U.S. citizen regarding prayer in our nation, and we usually sing a patriotic song in it’s entirety: the Battle Hymn of the Republic, My Country Tis of Thee, the National Anthem, etc. I have a link to an example of the Patriotic Rosary here: http://www.sacredheartmilledgeville.org/Freedom%20Rosary%20and%20Litany.pdfToday we went to Mass and then later went to the Ralston 4th of July parade. We had only been to it twice and it was usually HOURS long. I think every fire truck in the eastern side of the state was in the parade today. One of the ambulances actually had to leave the parade route and leave, sirens blaring, for a call. There were some horses and riders, clowns, 10 million Shriners, and a couple of bands. It was much much shorter this year, but it was really fun to get out and see everyone.
The pastor of our parish, Fr. Mark Nolte, said a few things today that really resonated with me. You know how the word “love” is overused. Love is something special and sacred….yet we love tv, pizza, chocolate, football, whatever. We use the word all the time and the specialness of it is somewhat worn away by overuse. Freedom is another one of those words. I am free to do this or that….free to be me. Freedom isn’t free. Ask any military member or their family that question. In my humble opinion, our nation is a hot mess right now…and has been for a good decade or more. We have so many things that unite us yet dwell solely on the things that divide us. Every year I think about our founding fathers…those men brave enough to meet and start a new country….what they would think of how we have moved to today. Goodness, I just go back to my grandparents and imagine what they would think of how this country is currently acting. What would they think? What would they say? So today I pray for our nation. I pray for peace. I pray for understanding and love. I don’t want to sound ungrateful though….I know I live in a wonderful country. So my prayers also are lifted in thanksgiving. I have children who can grow up to pursue whatever career they want. They are able to be educated and worship whenever and wherever they desire. They are able to travel freely and say what is in their hearts. That is a true blessing. So on our country’s 245th birthday, I pray with thanksgiving for our great nation and it’s continued healing and perseverance.