Every year since Canada Day, which is July 1 and Independence Day, July 4 are both at the beginning of the month dedicated to His Most Precious Blood, it is my custom to spend several days in prayer for both our nations: Precious Blood of Jesus sanctify us!
We two nations share much in common, most important of which is our shared Christian heritage – fundamentally this remains fact even if through the turbulence of history, the reality of authentic recognition of the freedom to worship granted all religions, this Christian fabric of our lives may be a bit stretched, not to mention because of the enormous pressure of the dark culture of death in some ways that very fabric is rather tattered.
Nations such as ours have developed, as it were, non-religious forms of communal “liturgy”, hence events such as the opening of parliament or the inauguration of a president seek to embody a sense of nationhood and a reminder of the very freedoms for which so many of our sons and daughters have fought for, do fight for, lay down their lives for.
However men and women do not, at least not when they leave the security of our nations, head off to the battlefield simply to defend a system of government, or a body politic.
They go forth for family, for the whole fabric of national life, which includes a priori freedom not only to worship, that is celebrate authentic liturgy, but also for the right and freedom to unswervingly witness to Jesus and His Gospel of Life.
Bl. John Paul stresses we Christians are to be like Jesus and His Holy Cross, a sign of contradiction, that is to be seen to be other than the culture of death, materialism, etc., by being witness to the Light through the luminous holiness of our lives.
We see countless of our brothers and sisters of another faith placing their lives on the line in what the media refers to as the “Arab Spring”, and Nato is helping, at least in Libya.
Our sons and daughters, from both our countries, from the militaries, diplomatic corps, NGOs, in countless countries around the world in innumerable ways are seeking to help the oppressed achieve true freedom, the poor to be cared for.
In motion a revolution is a turning; in society it is an upheaval that seeks to overturn an oppressive system to one of freedom.
Christians, by virtue of baptism, must, as Bonheoffer reminds us, be revolutionaries, that is taking always “..a stronger stand in favour of the weak…”!
If as our nations celebrate we wish to truly honour our ancestors, truly show gratitude to the men and women of our Armed Forces who lay down their lives for us, we should remember our Christian origins, to be sure, but even more urgently we should reclaim and begin to live with ardent fidelity our faith.
Who are the truly weak among us? – the unborn children, the impoverished homeless, the wounded and traumatized warriors, the lonely and abandoned elderly, the…….
The template of Christian revolutionary transformation of the culture of death into the Gospel of Life is the word of Jesus to love one another as He loves us.
Yes Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day – the challenge is to strive going forward to the point where they become Holy Days.