Four years ago, our nation was emotionally charged and deeply polarized. There was a lot of rhetoric and drama in the media about who is most qualified to lead our country. Fast forwarding to today, it doesn’t seem like much has changed. So, for this 4th of July, I would like to share my Deacon’s Corner with you from four years ago. It helps to remind me that our nation is not about Democrats vs Republican, liberals vs conservatives. Our nation about preserving the values it was founded on 244 years ago…
What does our Catechism say about people with authority to govern? It basically, says: a society cannot be well-ordered nor prosperous unless the people with authority to govern preserve its institutions and devote themselves to work and care for the common good. The foundation of this authority must lie in moral order derived from God. It cannot be contrary to His Natural Law. The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for fundamental rights and dignity of each person; development of society’s spiritual and material needs; and the peace and security of the people. Our Catechism says everyone should be concerned to create and support institutions that improve the conditions of human life (paragraphs 1897 – 1927.)
The founding fathers of our great country knew these principles of government. The Declaration of Independence is clear about God’s role, fundamental rights, and human dignity. It reads “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…and for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
The Constitution recognizes a common good as it reads “We, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Prosperity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”
The leaders who signed these documents knew that no form of government was perfect. So, they established a country founded on faith in God and following His laws. They crafted a structure for a nation where it’s people could self-govern by choosing leaders who would preserve their institutions, and work for the common good of all.
As we celebrate the birth of our country, let’s not forget what our founders stood for. No matter our political affiliation, may we pray for the wisdom to elect leaders who will rely on the Divine Providence of God to secure the Blessings of our Liberty so that, as Abraham Lincoln said, “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”