Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

       Kevin and I are spending our July 4, 2011 in the same place where we spent one of my favorite Independence Days ever.  To read about, my all-time favorite, click here.
As part of celebrating the day, I’ve chosen to write about a few good men. 

An All-American Patriot: Harry Potter 

Yes, I am related to Harry Potter, and I can testify that he was truly an all-American patriot.  My father-in-law, Harry Darwin Potter, was born on Labor Day, September 5, 1927, and died the eve of Memorial Day 2005 at the time Kevin and his family would traditionally have been sharing a family dinner at the cottage. 

       Harry served in the army towards the end of World War II.  Upon returning to the United States, he got married, and they had four children.  He worked at Kodak for 42 years, at a time when it was still customary to work for one company throughout your entire career.  He was a very loving son, brother, husband, father, uncle, father-in-law, and grandfather.  His legacy lives on in the many lives he touched over the years. 
A Courageous Man Serving in Afghanistan: Luke Baab
Someone Kevin and I have come to consider as our brother is currently serving our country in a special unit in Afghanistan.  This is actually the first time I’ve gotten to know someone well and be a part of their lives before they went on active duty overseas. 

For a while now, I’ve been in the habit of praying for each member of the Baab family, as they have become family to us.  Prayers for Luke have been a bit different now that he’s in harm’s way. 
One prayer I shared with him a while ago is worth mentioning and praying for each person going into battle:
Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph
O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.  O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for  me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.  O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms.  I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart.  Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.  St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.  Amen.

Imprimatur: Most Rev. George W. Ahr., Bishop of Trenton
Say for nine days as a novena.
According to oral tradition, whoever reads this prayer or hears it or carries it, will never die a sudden death, nor be drowned, nor will poison take effect on them.  They will not fall into the hands of the enemy nor be burned in any fire, nor will they be defeated in battle.
(This prayer among many other powerful ones can be found in: The Pieta Prayer booklet.

A Model of Spiritual Dependence: Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan
The homily Kevin and I heard at Mass this weekend celebrated our dependence on the Lord, our freedom from the eternal repercussions of sin because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.  We are no longer slaves in bondage to sin.  Christ bore the punishment, suffering, and pain for us to be free spiritually. 
When I think of spiritual independence, Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan comes to mind.  This man was truly an amazing example of what it means to be free in time and eternity.  During his thirteen years in prison, nine of them in solitary confinement, he remained faithful to the Lord and drew even closer to Christ.  In some of the worst physical and emotional conditions possible, Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan clung to Christ and to the Cross.  To learn more about this dedicated man of God, check out the Road of Hope DVD or the book The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison.    

I hope you and your families 
have an enjoyable weekend filled with blessings!  
God bless America...and every place else!

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