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Freedom Under God

At the beginning of the 1956 movie, The Ten Commandments, director Cecil B. DeMille prefaces the film with his own comments: “The subject of the picture is,” he says, “the Birth of Freedom. The theme of this picture is whether men are to be ruled by God’s Law, or whether they are to be ruled by the whims of a dictator like Rameses. Are men the property of the state, or are they free men under God? This same battle continues throughout the world today.”

In the movie, as in the Bible, Moses leads the Hebrews, who have been protected by the blood of the Passover lamb, out of Egypt --- a land of slavery and idolatry. Their journey, which is fraught with hardship and suffering, takes them through the Red Sea and the wilderness, to freedom under God in the Promised Land.

Catholics understand this story as a prefigurement: Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God, washes the lintels of His Church with His own salvific blood, and leads those who follow Him out of their slavery to sin or self-idolatry. This entails an arduous yet purifying journey during which we are aided by the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, Holy Communion and Confirmation, but leads, if we follow, to freedom and everlasting happiness with God in Heaven.

Past immigrants to the United States saw a similarity between their journey and that of the Hebrews: they left their oppressive native land, and made an arduous journey across a great sea, to a new land --- to begin life anew in freedom, they hoped, living under laws that conformed with The Law of God.

In May, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, in a proclamation to the nation, stated “…we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.” Lincoln saw the Civil War as a suffering that he hoped would purify the soul of America: “… may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People?”

One hundred and sixty-one years ago this month, from July 1-3 of 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg raged, and about 50,000 men, Union and Confederate, died. At a ceremony dedicating the battlefield in November 1863, Lincoln exhorted his listeners: “It is for us the living… to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…”

Those who died at Gettysburg, and in World War I, and World War II and Vietnam, did not die so that we Americans could sacrifice our completely innocent and defenseless unborn children to the god of self through abortion, or so that men could engage in unnatural sexual relations (sodomy) and call it “marriage,” or because they wanted us to render God’s act of procreation barren through taxpayer funded contraception and sterilization and call it “healthcare.”

How terribly sad, that some politicians highlight their support for the legalized killing of the unborn as a reason to vote for them. How far have we fallen! To quote Pope John Paul II: “A nation that kills its own children has no future.”

We must resolve that the soldiers who sacrificed their lives at Gettysburg and other battlefields “did not die in vain.” Through the sacrament of Confirmation, we became soldiers for Christ. We received grace that enlightens our minds and strengthens our wills to do good and avoid evil. The Holy Spirit helps make us willing to suffer all things, even death, for Christ.

At the moment, we are not being asked to die for Christ, but to fight with the sword of Truth, to expect to receive wounds, to suffer: to LIVE for Christ, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”

The Holy Spirit is, through the programs we show on St. Michael Broadcasting, enlightening our minds and strengthening our wills. Please continue to support this apostolate through your prayers, by telling others, and if possible, a financial contribution. We need volunteers, especially those with filming, editing, and digitizing media skills. We have the equipment, but we need people.

God bless you this 4th of July, Independence Day, the Birthday of Freedom in the United States.


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