Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 1 July 2012

Our First, Most Cherished Liberty

    "We are Catholics.  We are Americans.  We are proud to be both,
grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples,  and grateful
for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens.  To be  Catholic and
American should mean not having to choose one over the other.  Our
allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should
instead be complementary.  That is the teaching of our Catholic faith,  which
obliges us to work together with fellow citizen for the common good of  all
who live in this land.  That is the vision of our founding and our  Constitution,
which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths to right to  contribute to our
common life together.

    Freedom is not only for American, but we think of it as something of  our
special inheritance, fought for at a great price, and a heritage to be  guarded
now.  We are stewards of this gift, not only for ourselves but for all nations
and peoples who yearn to be free.  Catholics in America have discharged  this
duty of guarding freedom admirably for many generations....

    ...From well before Cardinal Gibbons, Catholics in America have been
advocates for religious liberty, and the landmark teaching of the Second
Vatican Council on religious liberty was influenced by the American  experience.
It is among the proudest boasts of the Church on these shores.  We have  been
staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past.  We have a solemn  duty to
discharge that duty today."
                        -- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
                            Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

Almighty God, Father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,
the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them,
for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,
in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, 

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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