A Day Of Freedom And Faith

They paid a heavy price. Five of them were captured by the enemy, labeled as traitors and they were tortured before they died. Twelve men had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving the army and another had two sons captured. Nine of them fought and died from wounds or hardships incurred during the war. When they did what they did, they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. They knew full well that the penalty for doing it could be death if they were captured. This was no group of foolish zealots. Twenty-four of them were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers. They were men of means who were well educated.

Who were these men? They were the signers of the Declaration of Independence. One could take pause and say who would do the same today. While I am certain that there are some good men and women who lead our country in this age, we seem to hear only the bad, opportunistic and self-centered maneuverings of our elected officials. How many of them would deal with consequences that our fore-fathers did?

Related to this day of freedom, one can also reflect upon our freedom of faith. As Catholics, we are fortunate people. To have the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ available to us each day is a true gift, a freedom we do not cherish as often or as reverently as we should. Most Catholics state that their faith is important to them, yet our pews have fewer people in them, the lines to the confessionals are no more than three people long and the mere thought of getting into a lively discussion over what Catholicism is, is a frightening experience. It seems to me that those of us who make the claim to be Catholic, might well ready themselves for the day when we will have to ask ourselves whether we will put of lives on the line for what we say we believe and hold true. Can we stand up as these framers of this beautiful document did and face those who attack us?