Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
July 6, 2008
We “The People”
This weekend we celebrate the independence of our country. It would be an excellent time to stop and reflect on various aspects of our great nation. The fact that we are in the midst of a presidential campaign gives us all the more reason to do some serious reflection. Perhaps one notion that we could benefit from reflection is the concept of We, “The People”. These words are very familiar to us since they are the opening words of our Constitution. . .”We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union etc. . . We have all studied these words as students and have heard them many times as adults. What do they really mean however?
Perhaps, when the words were drafted, some 230 years ago, the term “we the people” were meant to reflect a group of people who were of one heart and one mind. At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, the ideals of our forefathers were running rampant. We had just fought a long and bitter battle with England. The people had made many sacrifices and the young nation was very vulnerable if it did not get its act together quickly. “The People” had to stand together as one if the nation was to survive. Today, our nation seems to suffer from a drastic loss of unity. Does this mean that we should change the words to our opening line of the Constitution? Let’s take a minute to look at this idea.
There is a book written by Thomas Day on the Culture of Catholicism in the United States. In one chapter of this book he speaks about “The People” in reference to the many and varied people who come to worship within our walls each week. He explains that the church, in opening its doors to all people, has made it very difficult to be of “one mind and one heart” on all matters theological and spiritual. This is especially noticeable with respect to the Liturgy. It is difficult he comments, to expect people of all ages, educational, ethic and socio-economic backgrounds to want the same things in the exact same way. Actually, it is nearly impossible.
The lesson taken from Day’s book is that the church has chosen to be universal, at the strong suggestion of Jesus, and therefore must learn to live with the reality. The situation calls for a church that will always be varied in opinion especially with ideas of spirituality and liturgy. What speaks to one does not necessarily speak to another. Nevertheless, we must learn to live in peace and harmony, not in hatred and animosity. Others are not necessarily wrong or misled or ignorant. They simply see things from a different perspective. “The People” are “The Church”.
The same concept can be applied to the people of our country. Our nation was founded on the principle that all men are created equal and are endowed with inalienable rights. . . Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Like the Church, our nation is made of many different people. We have the rich and the poor, the well educated and the less, the ongoing influx of people from other countries etc. It is inevitable that we will not all agree on where the country should go or what is “right” for “the people”. A nation that has always been a place of comfort for the down-trodden exiles, has by definition, become a nation varied in all ways.
Do we have place in our hearts and in our minds for those who do not think and feel like us? Can we learn to live with the reality of differences. Can we learn to focus on the many gifts and talents this great nation envelops within its eagles’ wings? After all, we are all “The People”
Lorette P. Nault