We the People | Homily for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

9/11 Memorial Light Display over Downtown Naperville, IL

On Saturday, September 11, 2021 we held a beautiful Memorial Mass for the victims of 9/11. I had the honor of preaching this Mass. I based my homily on two main sources: the preamble to the United States Constitution and Sir Cecil Spring Rice’s poem, “The Two Fatherlands”, which has been set to music and is more widely known as the hymn, “I Vow to Thee My Country.”

Preamble to the United States Constitution:

We the People of the United States,
in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America.

Sir Cecil Spring Rice’s poem, “The Two Fatherlands”: 

I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the wastes of waters, she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And around her feet are lying the dying and the dead;
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns;
I haste to thee, my mother, a son among thy sons.

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

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