As our nation celebrates its independence from English tyranny by its declaration in 1776, we see that our country today still enjoys unprecedented freedoms that many people around the globe do not experience. One such freedom involves religious liberty. This liberty does not mean that a person ought to have a right to believe anything that he or she simply wants to believe. Such an idea is nothing more than intellectual laziness and demonstrates a profound disregard for our free will and the formation of our conscience which God has instilled in every person in our desire to search for what is true. Rather, genuine religious liberty recognizes each person’s God-given right which no state or other entity should interfere with: a person’s ability to worship God as He has revealed through His Church without any external force impeding that right.
For Catholics, religious liberty means that we ought to worship God each Sunday because this is the day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our nation thankfully allows us to do exactly that, but it is disheartening that so many Catholics in the West fail to live the life of grace each Sunday by staying connected to Christ through His Church and His sacraments. Religious liberty also entails that we continue over a lifetime to learn the truths of our Catholic faith through daily prayer and study because those truths can never be exhausted—there is always something new to discover or new connections to be made!
We enjoy so many freedoms in the United States, and our prayer is that each Catholic will use the freedoms that God has granted us for His greater honor and glory each day in our thoughts, words, and actions. By so doing, we build up not only the Church, but each of us plays a part in making the United States continue as the greatest country in the world!
May God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America!
Fr. Shawn William Cutler
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF AMERICA
O Immaculate Mother, Queen of our country, open our hearts, our homes, and our land to the coming of Jesus, your divine Son. With Him, reign over us, O heavenly Lady, so pure and so bright with the radiance of God’s light shining in and about you. Be our leader against the powers of evil set upon wresting the world of souls, redeemed at such a great cost by the sufferings of your Son and of yourself, in union with Him, from that same Savior, who loves us with infinite charity. We gather about you, O chaste and holy Mother, Virgin Immaculate, Patroness of our beloved land, determined to fight under your banner of holy purity against the wickedness that would make all the world an abyss of evil, without God and without your loving maternal care. We consecrate our hearts, our homes, and our land to your most pure Heart, O great Queen, that the kingdom of your Son, our Redeemer and our God, may be firmly established in us. We ask no special sign of you, sweet Mother, for we believe in your great love for us, and we place in you our entire confidence. We promise to honor you by faith, love, and the purity of our lives according to your desire. Reign over us, then, O Virgin Immaculate with your Son, Jesus Christ. May His divine Heart and your most chaste Heart be ever enthroned and glorified among us. Use us, your children of America, as your instruments of peace among men and nations. Work your miracle of grace in us, so that we may be a glory to the Blessed Trinity, who created, redeemed, and sanctifies us. May your valiant spouse, St. Joseph, with the holy angels and saints, assist you and us in “renewing the face of the earth.” Then, when our work is over, come, holy Immaculate Mother, and as our victorious Queen, lead us to the eternal kingdom where your Son reigns forever as King. Amen.