Fr. Francis Amodio, O. Carm. currently serves as Director of Campus Ministry at Mount St Mary College, in Newburgh, NY. He recently urged students to “Celebrate and Reflect” on the I Have a Dream Speech, by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He shared his thoughts on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, August 28, 1963 in the following letter.
Dear Mount Saint Mary Community,
Today we celebrate and remember, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, August 28, 1963 and the famous, I Have a Dream Speech, by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I would like to share some thoughts with you all today.
We remember the words of the Pledge of Allegiance which we have said many times: “one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
The Baptist minister, Rev. Martin Luther King, spoke and acted from his conviction of the words of the Lord Jesus. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5: 7-9) and “You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 43-45)
Let us reflect on some of the thoughts from the “I HAVE DREAM” speech.
“When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men-yes-, black men as well as white men-would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
“Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.”
“It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self –evident, that all men are created equal.”
I would like to end with the words of Pope Benedict XVI speaking to young people about the issues of peace and justice, January 1, 2012.
“In this world of ours, in which, despite the profession of good intentions, the value of the human person, of human dignity and human rights is seriously threatened by the widespread tendency to have recourse exclusively to the criteria of utility, profit and material possessions, it is important not to detach the concept of justice from its transcendent roots. Justice, indeed, is not simply a human convention, since what is just is ultimately determined not be positive law, but by the profound identity of the human being. It is integral vision of man that saves us from falling into a contractual conception of justice and enables us to locate justice within the horizon of solidarity and love.”
God bless you all and do something kind for someone today!God bless you all and do something kind for someone today!