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Interfaith Day of Prayer

Fr. John Vrana

Ret. Roman Catholic Priest

 

We are here indeed to celebrate freedom.  But to be more specific we gather to celebrate love.  Love is based on freedom-without freedom there is no love.

 

The French poet Charles Peguy wrote, “Once on has known what it is to be loved by a free person, one no longer savors the submission of slaves.”

 

Conventional wisdom tells us the opposite of love is hate.  However, the opposite of love is not hat—it is fear.

 

Fear separates us humans from each other

Love brings us together.  While love promotes harmony, fear sows discord.

 

This form of fear is called servile.  This is the fear that governmental and religious institutions employ in order to maintain control over other, in order to assert dominance.  When we humans act out this slavish fear, we do irrational things-such as wage war or carry out an inquisition.

 

However, there is another kind of fear which is a wholesome fear-this fear is called respect-

 

-this occurs when we stand in awe before the other and the Other of all others;

 

-this happens when we reverence the other as a fellow human;

 

-this comes about when we treat the other as you would have others treat you.

 

-This is called the Golden Rule.

 

Though the Golden Rule is expressed in different ways, it is found in all the world’s prominent religions.

 

The best expression of the Golden Rule is found in the words of Peter Maurin co-founder with Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker:

 

The world would be better off

If people tried

To become better

And people would

Become better

Of they stopped trying

To be better off.

For when everyone tries

O become better

Everybody is better off.

Everybody would be rich

If nobody tried

To become richer

And nobody would be poor

If everybody tried

To be the poorest.

And everybody would be

What he ought to be

If everybody tried to be

What he wants the other fellow to be. 

 

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