Not long ago, I majored in American History. 241 years ago, a group of men were locked up in a room in Philadelphia City with stifling heat. They quarreled, debated, and sweat out a document that has been studied inside and out (which may actually be a bad thing).
This is the Fourth of July; it's a day that we as citizens of the United States of America have reason to celebrate. A move that figures such as Adams, Jefferson and Franklin debated about took extreme courage, and this is not a history lesson (a blog does not have the time to address that), I only want to encourage you in how you celebrate the Fourth of July (if you are here in the States, otherwise it’s the feast of Bl. Pier Giorgio for us Lay Dominicans).
While we have had some rays of sunshine, it is still a dark time for our country. To drive the point home about protecting your freedom, let's look at one of my favorite saints, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati.
A lot of people think that Pier Giorgio was really intelligent (which he was), but the truth was that he was a slow learner (it might be why he called himself Dodo as a child). For most that know about his life, his dad was very involved in government, being one of the youngest ambassadors for Italy to Germany. One day, Pier Giorgio was heading to Rome with his friends to basically take part in what would probably be equated to World Youth Day; some royal Italian guards tried to break them up, and Pier Giorgio fought back courageously. When he screamed his dad’s name, they pulled off and apologized; but Pier Giorgio refused to leave.
After he became invested as a tertiary Dominican, this was the time when Mussolini rose to power; Pier Giorgio felt a righteous anger boil within him whenever he heard this dictator speak out, and it only got worse after his dad gave up his job as Mussolini was climbing the power ladder. Pier Giorgio was also a member of the Popular Party in Italy, and vehemently spoke out against Mussolini and his fascist regime.
When I look to my generation, the JPII Generation, I actually am hopeful (despite what the media wants us to believe); more and more who participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. is young adults (not just Catholics). I think we (not just Young Adults) need to take Pier Giorgio as an example and ask for his intercession, because he knew how to stand up for what was right; it takes a lot of guts, but it’s the right thing to do (not to mention very Dominican).
President Adams (who I actually like, contrary to historical myths), told us yes we should make it a day to celebrate; yes, let’s get fireworks and hotdogs, but how about making a quick mass first? Seriously, if we as Catholics (and Christians) consider the Mass to be the highest form of prayer, why not offer it for our country?
Our religious liberty is at stake here, and we need to fight for it; Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us.
P.S.: Here's a passage from a letter he wrote:
“We are living through difficult days because the persecution against the Church is more raging than ever, but this should not frighten you, brave and good young people....In this trying time that our country is going through, we Catholics and, especially we students, have a serious duty to fulfill: our self-formation.”