I am deeply moved by the all words of support in comments and emails and will, by early next week, reply to each of you.
It is a joy to be able, in some small way, through sharing personal pilgrimage, to help others.
I leave very early in the morning for a pilgrimage to a lake revered by all the relatives of Blessed Kateri, and many other peoples as well, so won’t be posting for a few days, NOT, because of being back in that swamp of darkness, but because I am on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving.
The area we are headed to has since 1889, been a place of pilgrimage and is dedicated to St. Anne, Mother of Mary, Grandmother of Jesus.
While the main pilgrimage each year centres around the feast of St. Anne, this one is centered around family life and I will be a guest of, and traveling, with John and Lucille, who are for me, as Martha, Mary and Lazarus were for Jesus, a true Bethany!
During the long weekend, besides conferences, Holy Mass, family time, there is also perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament – so I will be spending time in prayer specifically for the two great nations, cousins truly, who celebrate our national days at the very beginning of the month dedicated to His Most Precious Blood – I speak, of course, of Canada [ July 1 ] and the United States [ July 4 ].
May I say – between friends: in both nations we enjoy the greatest amount of freedom on the face of the earth, though for many of our brothers and sisters poverty, illness, addictions, imprisonment, loneliness and other burdens mean they suffer immensely.
Yet there is, rooted in our shared Christian tradition especially, a true compassion not only for our own but for those who suffer around the world.
Of this generosity towards the world’s poor, this generosity of blood of both our people’s to defend the oppressed, the speed at which we respond to disasters around the globe, of this and much more we should be truly proud, filled with joy, and give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for all the blessings we enjoy.
It is too easy to be critical of the weaknesses in our countries, or even disagreements between us or within each nation.
Granted free speech, dissent around government policy, etc., these form an essential part of our freedom.
However, at least on our national days – let us make an effort – at least for the day, honouring our ancestors who forged our nations and those who defend us at home and abroad, smile for each other: across the longest undefended border in the world; smile with the person beside us; the people we meet throughout the day – maybe even say thank-you!
Thank-you: to every shop keeper, police officer, medic, parks service person, lifeguard; those who keep us safe, fed, protected, enable us to travel; and for every military person, clergy, indeed with everyone we meet.
Yes I do believe, if for one day every American and Canadian rejoiced in the presence and gift in our lives of our fellow citizens; if every Canadian and American blessed to meet on either side of the border over these holidays thanked each other’s nation for our friendship…. – well I believe such a witness of true love among and between our people’s would put a major dent in the agenda of the terrorists who hate us because we are, quite simply, good, free, people.