This Tuesday our country celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The last sentence of that document, right before the signatures of our Founding Fathers, contains an important phrase: “with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”
“With firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”: Someone could say, “That doesn’t sound like a declaration of independence; it sounds like a declaration of dependence.” And they would be right. Our Founding Fathers declared their independence from an oppressive foreign power, but they also declared their dependence on God.
This teaches us an important principle that is almost never stated: freedom and independence are not the same thing. Freedom requires dependence on the only one who can make us free. This is true politically and socially; it is also true (and especially important) morally. The only way we can be free from sin (the most oppressive and tyrannical force that exists) is to be completely dependent on the one who frees us from sin; that is, of course, Our Lord.
May the Lord bless our nation on this weekend, and may we always show our “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”