and that light is the light of the nations--Jesus Christ.
I post this morning from a DC Starbucks just a few blocks away from the nation's capitol. It's an awesome site. The seat of power of the free world. As I followed a myriad of directions that included maneuvers through three major highways on my way in from Dulles, I actually stumbled into the capitol complex, dumbstruck when the Washington Memorial was standing there right in front of me. To the left was the stately, square Lincoln memorial. Just as I remembered it in the 5th grade.
I love our country. It's rebellious history, it's varieties of cultural influences, it's sturdy perseverance, it's commitment to democracy and governance of, by and for the people. It's love of freedom. We have experienced the many fruits of that freedom in abolishing slavery, giving women the right to vote and allowing individuals chances to pursue life, liberty and happiness in ways never before encountered in civilization. I remain grateful that I am an American; grateful to enjoy such freedoms and privileges and to live in such an exceptional country.
Yet I am reminded often that our country is still in its adolescence in many regards and this freedom concept seems to capture that sentiment. Like teenagers so often do, we have tested the boundaries of our freedoms and the results have continued to reveal that we are desperately in need of a correction. We have tested the patience of our Creator by continually failing to see His image in all humanity. We have abused our freedoms and run afoul of its boundaries when our most vulnerable citizens are slaughtered, desecrated and cast off as rubbish.
We live in the shadowlands.
One of the great freedoms that I relish is the ability to worship as I choose. Last night we celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was a glorious spectacle of about 10,000 worshippers and literally hundreds of clergy. Cardinal DiNardo was correct in giving the most auspicious recognition to the immense number of young people that came out for the events of the National March for Life. The cardinal's homily fixated on this dark/light contrast. He reminded us that we are a people in need of a Savior, but he encouraged us to be hope-filled witnesses to the true Light of the world which is Christ.
It was hard not to be swept away by the liturgy, it's glorious chant, incense and listening to many thousand people belt out "Crown Him with Many Crowns". It took 25 minutes for the priest processional to conclude - an amazing site, indeed. More than anything though, I felt like I was family...one with my brothers and sisters. United under that bond of peace so often spoken of. Though I came from many miles away, I am among my kin when I enter the liturgy. And Christ is truly present among us.
To be united. United in our common freedoms and struggles, united with our brothers and sisters, no matter how old or how young.
We March to the Supreme Court this afternoon and give our Silent No More testimonies in 30 degree deep freeze. This is culture shock for this Phoenix girl. Here are some pics of the Mass last night and friends we met with afterwards.