I write this on Independence Day. I would be hard-pressed to recite from memory the more than 1300 words of our “Declaration of Independence.” Yet there was a time when schoolchildren could.
In recent years it is enough for me to read it at least on Independence Day.. Each time I see something new.
This year I got distracted by the thought of Jesus’ “declaration on DE-pendency.
Did he have a “declaration of DE-pendency?
Walk with me as I explore that.
Jesus’ Declaration of “DE-pendence”
On July 4, 1941, five months before the United States entered World War II, then-Msgr. Fulton Sheen published A Declaration of Dependence to stir America’s soul into realizing what its independence entailed and to warn Americans what they must do to keep it. (see Catholic Register)
Thomas Jefferson was correct; the God who gave us life gave us liberty. Our Independence requires admitting our dependence on that same God if it is to flourish and endure. We need a Declaration of Dependence – reaffirming our reliance upon the God who alone is the true source of our Liberty.
Perhaps on July 4th we should celebrate our Independence by reaffirming our Dependence on God and proclaim together again together that we STILL hold these truths!
Jesus often proclaimed his dependence on the Father.
I started wondering. How would Jesus word such a declaration of dependence? The light went on!
There was no need to speculate. Jesus had already boiled it down … to just two words. He even taught us to use them as a way of praying.
Jesus, always the master of brevity, simply said, “Our Father.”
Our Father – declaration of our dependence on God
In praying ‘Our Father,” are we not recognizing our dependence on God?
At a very human level when we say mother or father we recognize our dependence on these two individuals. Without them we simply would not be here. We did not choose them. The same is true for our sisters and brothers. For good or not they remain “mother and father.” With that come special bonds with our sisters and brothers.
Scientists remind us that this solidarity is not a choice, it’s a reality. They remind us that we’re all connected to each other biologically, to the Earth chemically, and to the rest of the universe atomically. Our solidarity is a scientific fact, as well as the salvific act of a loving Savior and a wise and guiding Holy Spirit.
We are all equal in our dependence upon God. And because we all share that dependence on God, we are brothers and sisters.
Rereading what Jesus taught… and did
I believe that God gave us the greatest example of solidarity in dependence when God sent his son Jesus to live with us. God became human like us to reveal the true dignity of each human being. We are each God’s chosen whether we realize it or not.
My mind raced through all that he taught and did. It all comes down to telling us of the Good News of our common dependency on a God who chose and continues to choose us.
The night before he died, He prayed that we would realize that we are one in that dependency.
Later, at the last supper, he spelled out the implications. If we are all dependent on “Our Father,” we must recognize we are sisters and brothers in our common dependency. He showed us we must wash one another’s feet.
From the cross, he affirmed our common dependency by showing us respect whether we deserved it or not.
Try reading the Our Father as Jesus’ “declaration of DE-pendence” on God.
Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk