It’s the 4th of July in America. Many of us are going to BBQs, celebrations in our towns, watching the fireworks go off, or breaking out that patriotic movie to enjoy with the family or friends.
The holiday is a reminder of what it took to have what we have today. Never forget the fact that freedom comes from. Even Bishop Fulton Sheen knew this well.
The beloved bishop was so prophetic in many of his orations on his show that has spanned nearly two decades. Sheen would have likely been canceled in today’s church. However, America must take heed of his dire warnings as Catholicism is declining in the United States.
In one of his 1960s broadcasts, Sheen discussed the virtue of patriotism under the title of Quo Vadis, America “Where are you going, America?” Sheen explained patriotism as, “a virtue that was allied to the old virtue of the Greeks and Latin called pietas, meaning love of God, love of neighbor, love of country. And when one goes out, all go out.”
Sheen discussed how the author of the Declaration of Independence was the man who best expressed the principles of the American Revolution. “What Jefferson taught us, what we believe, what are the conditions of the preservation of our country” He goes on to explain that Jefferson, “founded our democracy upon two principles — one, the dignity of man. Secondly, I would just simplify it for all rights and liberties come to us from God.”
Sheen explains the dignity of man as “believed that the government must be founded upon the respect for the individual. So he investigated what is the source of our rights and liberties. Where do they come from? Where does my right to free speech come from? Or the right of assembly? Or any other right? ...From the federal government? Certainly not. If they came from the federal government, the federal government could take them away.”
As for the second principle brought forth by Jefferson, Sheen points to God as he analyzes the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. He says, “the Creator — has endowed man with certain unalienable rights — unalienable! It cannot be taken away — among which are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is our democracy.”
Sheen reminds his audience of the deeper meaning of the Eagle being the national symbol of our country.
“We have to realize maybe why the Eagle is our national symbol,” he said, then dramatically made the analogy for us in a way that strikes deep into the heart and spirit. “The eagle always builds its nest high in the mountain crevices. When the young are hatched, the eagle pushes its young over the nest. They fly down, and to what to eaglet eyes must seem like sudden death. Just before the young eagle crashes, the mother eagle swoops down from its nest, down to the abyss, and catches the young, then flies up into the sky, swoops from (under) it again, and repeats the process until the bird has learned to fly.”
He continues, “Moses saw that, and he wrote, ‘As the Eagle stirs among the young, so does God stir among the nations.’ Maybe God is stirring us. Bringing us to the brink of danger in order that we might begin to examine ourselves, and restore Jefferson, the dignity of man, and a belief in God.”
"Our nation is too full of those that are crying Down…Down with schools. Down with the churches. Down with teachers. Down with government. Down with the police. Can you build anything down? You cannot!” He offers a solution, “Certainly time in our nation to change our words! Let's begin now to use the word UP. Up from all of this filth! Up from this violence! Up from this indifference of courts. Up, up to the battlements of eternity. Up, Up, to God!”
See his full video here.
Happy Birthday, America.