Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, May 4, 2012

Feast of Saint Godehard of Hildesheim

Good morning. Yesterday I attended a public prayer service along the Ohio River as part of the National Day of Prayer put on by the City of Evansville, Indiana. It was a nice gathering of folks, religious leaders from five major world religions came together at the Four Freedoms Monument along the Ohio River to share prayers with one another. As I stood there looking out to the blue sky, with its dazzling sun, and billowy white clouds sweeping over head of four towering pillars representing our freedom as a community of believers, believers in something greater than ourselves, I considered all the things I have to be grateful for. As I stood there, my thoughts turned to thoughts of our country in this point in time, and it occurred to me that there is much these days which evokes fear and anxiety.

My own personal concerns were of changes I see occurring about us as a community, as a nation with regards to our freedom and in particular our freedom of religion. I was struck by the various presenters’ usurpations of the prayerful moment to invoke politics; which reminded of the words of Peter Kreeft: “Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day defined a good society as one that makes it easy for you to be good. Correlatively, a free society is one that makes it easy to be free. To be free, and to live freely, is to live spiritually, because only spirit is free—matter is not. To live spiritually is to live morally. The two essential properties of spirit that distinguish it from matter are intellect and will—the capacity for knowledge and moral choice. The ideals of truth and goodness. The most radical threat to living morally today is the loss of moral principles.” 

Contemplating further, it occurred to me that freedom isn’t something which any government can truly offer; rather it is something which only God can offer us. It occurred to me that in other communities, while we turned our hearts and minds to God,  others turn to spitting in the face of God through calling upon the leaders of this land for this day to be declared, instead of a National Day of Prayer, to be called a “national day of reason” –the purpose of course being to suggest that people of faith are unreasonable. And as I thought of this this morning following my reading of today’s Gospel it occurred to me how much we as a society have turned away from God, how as a culture instead of turning to God we have turned to ourselves and to the things of this world for assurance.

Yes, our nation has grown restless. We should not at all wonder that our hearts have become restless, for the things of this world are fleeting, as fleeting as the clouds which flew by as we listened and prayed yesterday at the foot of those four towering limestone pillars of freedom: Freedom from Oppression, Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom of Religion. It occurred to me as I read the Gospel this morning how we enjoy these freedoms no matter the circumstances, no matter the course our government takes with regards to our freedoms, because our Lord offers us assurance “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Our trust in God is the greatest assurance of these four freedoms and His assurance is an assurance no government can offer, or take away. We are given a dignity and worth in God’s eyes which is beyond anything we can imagine. We are given freedoms for which there is no comparison. 

 We have before us each and every day the opportunity to live-out these freedoms and to help others embrace these freedoms in everything we do in our daily lives. As married couples we offer these freedoms and assurance to one another and to our children. We have each day the opportunity to build up His Kingdom within our homes and places of work outside our homes. Saint Godehard, whose life we celebrate today, shows us the way to enjoy true freedom and peace of heart and mind. In choosing to place our faith in God we choose to free ourselves from the oppression of the world’s uncertainties and shallow promises. Our Blessed Pope John Paul II assured us that true freedom, true joy is only found in the truth, the truth of Jesus the Christ. The choice is there for us to make, it’s the only real choice we have. Make a great day! 

 Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Godehard of Hildesheim.

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