Philadelphia Freedom by James A. Petrait
James A. Petrait
This year (1976) I had the privilege of attending various events
of the Eucharistic Congress and U.S. Bicentennial in Philadelphia. I
am originally from this historic city and I have been there many
times. However the events of this past year in Philadelphia left me
with some interesting thoughts. I would like to share two of these
thoughts with you. One is from the Eucharistic Congress and the other
is from the U.S. Bicentennial. Both of these thoughts really express
the same thing.
Many theatrical events were presented during the Eucharistic
Congress. One of these was "A Man For All Seasons" which was
presented by the Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales. This play
is about the life of St.Thomas More. The play's theme is "to thine
ownself be true." Thomas More became a saint because he believed in
the mystery of his own freedom. He believed in freedom so much that
he accepted execution rather than to submit to the unjust demands of
the leader of his country. His life was an apparent failure ending in
ignominy. But because he believed in the mystery of his own freedom,
St. Thomas More was declared a saint.
The most outstanding attraction of the U.S. Bicentennial was the
Liberty Bell which was seen and touched by millions of people in its
new home on Market Street. What is the Liberty Bell? Actually it is a
piece of junk- a bell that is very old and cannot ring. But why have
millions of people come to see this useless mass of metal? Would they
rather not see the gleaming new bell brought over by the Queen of
England this year? This is a bell that works and its sounds
reverberate through the streets of Philadelphia.
The Liberty Bell, like St. Thomas More, is an apparent failure but it
has lived on to become a great symbol of our country. It is a bell
that cannot ring yet it loudly proclaims the mystery of freedom for
all human beings. The Liberty Bell, like St. Thomas More, is true to
itself. It partakes in the mystery of freedom which enables it to
fulfill its destiny in God's creation.
The most precious gift that you own is your freedom. It enables you
to partake in God's plan as a unique individual. Live the mystery of
your own freedom and you will really live!
"Philadelphia Freedom" was originally published in the November,
1976 issue of the "Savio Notes" newsletter .
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© 1976-2000, James A. Petrait
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