George Washington's Farewell Address is considered one of the greatest speeches in American history, second to Lincoln's address at Gettysburg. It has been analyzed, referenced, and reenacted (the speech is read every year on the US Senate floor on February 22) countless times.
Washington didn't actually deliver publicly the over-seven thousand word address. It appeared in the newspapers on September 19, 1776. The father of the nation indicated he would not seek a third term as President of the United States. He would instead "retire" to his home in Mount Vernon. This was truly his desire since the end of the Revolutionary War. He simply wanted to tend his land. He truly was a 'Cincinnatus'.
Washington warns, in the address, against division: geographic, political, international. But he is also positive, attempting to guide the people and leave an American legacy. "The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity," he wrote, "must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local distinctions."
Washington wanted to form an American identity in the people. They were no longer British colonists. Nor were they citizens of a particular state, federalists, republicans, farmers, soldiers, whatever. They were Americans.
We read from the Gospel of John this week part of Christ's 'farewell address.' It's better than Washington's. His 'command' to the people (just like Washington 'commanded' the people not to be divisive) was: "love one another" (John 13:34).
You might be thinking, "Gee, this isn't really helpful." Perhaps. But judge by the results. Following this simple command, the apostles would go out and spread the faith (the first reading from Acts of the Apostles is further account of the spread of Christianity) and here we are, as a Church, standing strong 2,000 years later.
The United States is doing well, but it's got a way to go to catch up to the Catholic Church. Why is the Church still around? Several reasons. One of them is because love is our identity.
Monday, May 20th is the Pastoral Council's "last meeting of the year" until it reconvenes in September. David Plier will be finishing his term as the Pastoral Council Chair, and I want to thank him for his epic service. He has been on the council for eight years, seven of those as chair! He and the PC have been instrumental in helping our parish 'experience Jesus'. We welcome Eileen Mitchell as the new chair. If you are interested in serving on the council next year, please let myself or Eileen know. Our goal, fundamentally, is to help all parishioners deepen their relationship with Christ and become missionary disciples.
My Tuesday Theology Talk this week, at 7pm in the chapel, will be on the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. We have been reading from Revelation during our second reading at Mass on Sunday, so this might be particularly pertinent. On Thursday at 9am in the Church we will have the school Kindergarten Mass. There is no school on Friday. The 8:30am daily Mass will be in the chapel that day.
I hope those of you in the midst of the Consecration to Mary are finding it fruitful. I intended it to be performed during the Month of May, but you can do the Marian Consecration anytime, so you can start it now, if you haven't begun. Copies of my little book on the consecration can be found online. This is one of the best things you can do for yourself and those you love—allowing God to make you holy like his mother!
Yours in Christ,