The citizens of the United States of America celebrate today the declaration of their independence from England. Today the danger is that they as a nation are declaring their independence from God who, according to the 1776 declaration, is the One who endowed humans “with certain unalienable rights.” These rights, which include the freedom to practice one’s religion—a freedom that involves more than the mere liberty to worship in a sacred space of one’s own determination—do not come from the government or from political leaders. They come from God. Let us pray that our leaders may recognize this and safeguard this most essential of liberties for which so many have died over the past centuries. The prayer for the U.S. is from part of a litany which the U.S. Bishops have encouraged us to pray.
Christ the Lord has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Let us turn to him in humble but fervent petition, seeking the grace to root out from our hearts all trace of darkness, and all that holds us back from walking in the full freedom of the children of God. As Christ is our great model for that inner freedom, which enables us to do the right, let us turn to him with confidence that we, too, may follow him to the fullness of spiritual freedom.
Jesus, victor over sin and death… Free our hearts.
Jesus, bringer of mercy and justice… Free our hearts.
Jesus, who humble the heart and mind… Free our hearts.
Jesus, origin of all authority and power… Free our hearts.
Jesus, true lawgiver… Free our hearts.
Jesus, obedient Son of the Father… Free our hearts.
For the freedom to believe… Give us your grace.
For the freedom to worship… Give us your grace.
For the freedom to serve in charity… Give us your grace.
For the freedom to care for the suffering… Give us your grace.
For the freedom to comfort the sick… Give us your grace.
For the freedom to feed the hungry… Give us your grace.
For the freedom to shelter the homeless… Give us your grace.
For the freedom to proclaim the Gospel… Give us your grace.
For the freedom to work in good conscience… Give us your grace.