Thursday, July 25, 2013

Prayer for Those Who Have Committed Suicide

Almighty God, Our Heavenly Father, we understand that Thy fifth commandment, “Thou shalt do no murder,” includes self murder. But in Thy divine mercy, we beg Thy forgiveness especially for (name), who have been so confounded by the pressures of this life that they felt there was no way they could continue. Grant, we beseech Thee, that they be forgiven their terrible sin and accepted into Thy divine providence, and that they may come to understand Thy ways and Thy nature. We ask this in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.

When I was in high school, the brother of one of my classmates committed suicide.  I did not know him personally, but I did know that he had been having problems for a long time.  His tragic death haunted me for a long time.  I pondered what could make someone seek such an irreversible solution to his problems.  I thought about his friends and family blaming themselves, replaying over and over again in their minds all their dealings with him, and what they could possibly have done differently, or said differently, or not done or said, so that he would not have taken himself away from them forever.  I hoped, and still hope, that his will and reason were so impaired and overwhelmed as to mitigate or even remove his guilt.  I hope this any time I hear about someone taking his own life.

Years later, I had someone tell me he was planning on killing himself at some indefinite point in the future.  All I could think to do was to tell him that there is a hell, and if he murdered himself, he would go there, and that, once there, there would be no escape or reprieve for him, ever.  I do not know whether that was the right thing to say.  But I felt convinced that he needed to be convinced that suicide is indeed murder, and that eternal damnation was a possible and very real outcome.  I suspect there are many people to whom this has never occurred, for no other reason than that nobody has ever told it to them.  There is hardly anyone, even in the pulpits, willing to gainsay our materialistic culture that celebrates death as the solution to everything from depression to unwanted pregnancies to terminal illness.  We are given the impression that our lives and our bodies are mere chattels to save or spend as we please, and that there is neither punishment nor reward after this life.

But there is a Final Judgment.  There is a Heaven.  And there is a Hell.  

Thanks to Marge Fenelon for publishing this prayer.  Pray to Mary, Untier of Knots, to intercede for those contemplating suicide.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I, Pencil

Why do command economies consistently fail? Because radical egalitarians, lofty in their disdain for free people enjoying an industrialized leverage on life, consistently fail to learn the lesson of the lowly pencil.
I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that's too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.
Read and ponder the rest of "I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read" (1958) to find out more about the amazing history of a single pencil and how it relates to human freedom.

H/T Mark Levin.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Cruise Ship of Peter

The modern world, which denies personal guilt and admits only social crimes, which has no place for personal repentance but only public reforms, has divorced Christ from His Cross; the Bridegroom and Bride have been pulled apart. What God hath joined together, men have torn asunder. As a result, to the left is the Cross; to the right is the Christ...The Western post-Christian civilization has picked up the Christ without His Cross. But a Christ without a sacrifice that reconciles the world to God is a cheap, feminized, colorless, itinerant preacher who deserves to be popular for His great Sermon on the Mount, but also merits unpopularity for what He said about His Divinity on the one hand, and divorce, judgment, and hell on the other. This sentimental Christ is patched together with a thousand commonplaces....Without His Cross, He becomes nothing more than a sultry precursor of democracy or a humanitarian who taught brotherhood without tears.  
Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ

This weekend, I had the joy of attending Low Mass in the Dominican Rite, for the feast of St. Vincent de Paul; then a Novus Ordo Vigil Mass for Sunday celebrated ad orientem.  But it all had to be paid for this morning, when I found myself at a Mass with muzak-like campfire ditties played on piano and bass guitar and bongos and cymbals and tinkly chimes; girl altar servers with loose hair and flip-flops; people encouraged to socialize with each other instead of getting recollected for Mass; a priest improvising Mass parts; the canon gone through hastily and almost carelessly; and applause at the end for Murph and the Magictones, followed by raucous yakking inside the church.

Such is the Cruise Ship of Peter, the favorite fantasy of so many Catholics, even in the hierarchy.

Unlike the Barque of Peter, constantly under assault and in danger of sinking, yet manfully plowing forward through rough seas, the Cruise Ship of Peter is nice.  Its worship is uncontroversial.  It is bland.  It is insipid.  It is jejune.  It is decadent.  It is effeminate.  It kindles no fires, stirs no ardor, pricks no consciences.  Its lifeblood is mediocrity.  It docks at any old port, and will strike any old compromise to do so.  It insulates man from the uncomfortable mystery of the supernatural, and protects him from transports of zeal.  There is little enough to distinguish it from any other organization calling itself a church, or even from secular society: its very furnishings are precisely those of a posh country club.  That is why it always has smooth sailing, at least for as long as this serves the purposes of the prince of this world.  Even when sailing is not smooth, the ship is so grand and luxurious that nobody on board notices.  One leaves the liturgy on the cruise ship feeling as though one has just been to a really nice wine and cheese reception.  With its affluence and its amphitheater layout and its cushioned pews and its polished wood and its orchestra pit next to the sanctuary and its soothing, tranquilizing liturgy, the Cruise Ship of Peter is all ordered, down to the smallest detail, with a view to sealing up Catholics in a soft, warm cocoon of niceness and upper-class comfort, making them forget, or even filling them with friendly feelings toward, the pirates and cutthroats that smile back from their little boats that nevertheless daily increase and close in.

All are welcome aboard the Cruise Ship of Peter -- they even have a song about it that they sing at the beginning of Mass! -- all, that is, except anyone who might rock the boat.  What might the Cruise Ship do, one is tempted to wonder, with a Francis of Assisi, or a Dominic de Guzman, or a Catherine of Siena, or an Alphonsus Liguori, or a Fulton Sheen?  Would they have to walk the plank?  How much has the Cruise Ship liturgy to do with immemorial tradition?  Does it inspire missionaries and fortify martyrs?  Does it remotely resemble the Masses of Aquinas, wrapped in awe; or those of the Recusants in Elizabethan England, where it was death to be a priest; or of Father Willie Doyle on makeshift altars in the muddy trenches of the First World War; or of the Cristeros in their secret refuges from the Masonic Mexican regime; or of the first and only Mass celebrated by Bl. Karl Leisner, secretly ordained in Dachau on Gaudete Sunday, 1944, desperately ill yet on fire for souls?  Can one picture Father Augustine Tolton on board, his soul blazing like a beacon from the crumbling lighthouse of his overworked body, his trembling hands raised amid the mellow strains of "On Eagle's Wings"?

Is it worth it to try to trade the Barque of Peter in for this new luxury model?  Does the Cruise Ship of Peter connect Catholics to their illustrious past?  Does it prepare Catholics to meet their adversaries in battle in these increasingly stern times?  Is it counter-cultural?  Does it provide Catholics with a distinctive identity apart from the secular society?  Does it actively promote unity, rather than Balkanization, of Catholics of differing ethnic and linguistic backgrounds?  Does it make Catholics know that we are not of the world, though we are in it?

Or does it merely fatten and soften up the sheep for the slaughter?

You decide.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Unmistakable Fervor: Servant of God Augustine Tolton

The face of an angel: Servant of God Augustine Tolton (1854-1897).
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.  Luke 1:52

Augustine Tolton began life on a Missouri plantation as the son of Catholic slaves and the property of Catholic slaveholders, five years before the last slave ship landed on the shores of the United States.  After the Civil War began, his father escaped to join the Union Army; years would pass before the family learned that he had died soon afterward.  His mother , who had been taken away from her parents as a teenager, feared that her own three children would be taken from her, so she spirited them away to Quincy, Illinois in 1862.  

Amid trials and tribulations, and the death of his older brother, Charley, Augustine and his family made a life for themselves in the black district of Quincy.  Augustine found a friend and protector in the pastor of his local parish, Fr. Peter McGirr, who saw to it that the devout boy got a good Catholic education.  It was Fr. McGirr who discussed with him the possibility of his having a priestly vocation.  Augustine found more friends among priests and religious, and distinguished himself by his devotion, his diligence in his daily responsibilities at work and school, and his zeal for souls.  However, being black, he could not get into any seminaries in the United States.  Eventually, armed with his determination to become a priest and the help of his priestly patrons, Augustine secured a place as a seminarian at the Collegium Urbanum de Propaganda Fide in Rome.  On April 26, 1886, Holy Saturday, Augustine Tolton became Father Augustine Tolton, and celebrated his first Mass the next day, Easter Sunday, at St. Peter's Basilica.  The man who had begun his life as the legal property of men, and taken himself away from his human masters at the age of eight, now gave himself, body and soul, to his Divine Master and His Church.

At the time Fr. Tolton attended seminary at the Propaganda, part of the deal was that a seminarian had to promise, under oath, to work in any mission field in the world where the Church might send him.  Young Augustine expected to be sent to Africa, and even studied the languages and cultures of the various parts of Africa where he might be sent.  However, the day before his ordination to the priesthood, he was given the startling news that instead, he was to be sent back to his home diocese.  Remembering his escape from slavery and the bad treatment he had received at home on account of his negritude, Augustine received this news with disappointment and misgivings.  

But Fr. Tolton put away his apprehension and returned home to Quincy, Illinois.  There he rejoined his friends and benefactors from the old days and built up a parish and Catholic school for blacks, St. Joseph's.  Although the school was for black children, both whites and blacks attended the church, and the white parishioners helped keep both running with their contributions.  Sunday after Sunday, his church was packed.

Unfortunately, racism again reared its ugly head in the person of the dean of the Diocese who, as head of another parish in Quincy, was jealous of the white parishioners who flocked to Fr. Tolton for the Sacraments and for spiritual advice, and with many dollars to contribute to the black apostolate.  This priest made life miserable for Fr. Tolton, and succeeded in getting his ministry restricted to only black Catholics.  

Eventually, after several appeals to Rome, Fr. Tolton was able to secure permission to move to the Archdiocese of Chicago, where, with financial assistance from Mother Katherine (now St. Katherine) Drexel, he began work on the city's first black parish.  Once he had suitable lodgings, he brought his mother and younger sister to live with him.  His mother served as housekeeper, sacristan and chorister and was known in the parish as Mother Tolton.  Fr. Theodore Warning, a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, spent the summer of 1896 with Fr. Tolton while he attended a summer session at the University of Chicago, and gives us a glimpse of his private life:
They lived in a poorly furnished but very clean house.  The meals were simple affairs.  Father Tolton, his mother and I sat at a table having an oil cloth cover.  A kerosene lamp stood in the middle.  On the wall directly behind Father Tolton's place hung a large black rosary.  As soon as the evening meal was over, Father Tolton would rise and take the beads from the nail.  He kissed the large crucifix reverently.  We all knelt on the bare floor while the Negro priest, in a low voice, led the prayers with deliberate slowness and with unmistakable fervor.
Fr. Tolton worked hard to minister to his flock: celebrating Mass and the Sacraments; making the rounds of his parish, visiting tenements and hovels; giving religious instruction.  He was still a young man, but the hard work sapped his strength.  His parishioners noticed that his hands shook when distributing Holy Communion, and that he had to sit down to preach on Sundays.

On Friday, July 9, 1897, walking from the train station to the rectory in 104-degree heat, Fr. Tolton collapsed in the street and was rushed to the hospital with heat stroke and uremia.  Later that evening, having received his last Sacraments and surrounded by his mother, his sister, the hospital chaplain and several Sisters of Mercy, Fr. Augustine Tolton passed away.  He was 43 years old.  In accordance with his wishes, he was given a solemn Requiem Mass at St. Peter's in Quincy, Illinois, the parish of his youth, and buried in the priests' cemetery there.  An immense crowd attended the funeral.  The monument over his grave reads:

Rev. Augustine Tolton
The First Colored Priest in the United States
Born in Brush Creek, Ralls County, Missouri
April 1, 1854
Ordained in Rome, Italy, April 24, 1886
Died July 9, 1897
Requiescat in Pace

Fr. Tolton was not in fact the first black American to become a Catholic priest: the Healy brothers (James Augustine, ordained in 1854, and Patrick Francis, ordained in 1864) were the sons of an Irish father and a mulatto mother, and technically born as slaves.  But, whereas the Healy brothers were widely known as Irish, Fr. Tolton was the first recognizably black American to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood and serve as a priest in the United States.  On February 24, 2011, Francis Cardinal George issued his edict opening the cause for the canonization of Fr. Augustine Tolton; on February 13, 2012, the Congregation for Causes of Saints granted Fr. Tolton the title "Servant of God."

But Fr. Tolton deserves recognition not merely because he was black and an escaped slave.  Fr. Augustine Tolton was practiced in virtues and great holiness: he was a man of devotion, fidelity to the duties of his state in life, zeal for souls, gratitude for benefits received, love for his flock, patience in suffering and immense self-sacrifice.  If he is raised to the altar, it will be, and should be, on those grounds.

It would be well to close with Fr. Augustine Tolton's own words, from a speech delivered to the first Black Catholic Conference in Washington, D.C. in 1889:
The Catholic Church deplores a double slavery – that of the mind and that of the body.  She endeavors to free us of both. I was a poor slave boy but the priests of the Church did not disdain me.  It was through the influence of one of them that I became what I am tonight.  I must now give praise to that son of the Emerald Isle, Father Peter McGirr, pastor of St. Peter's Church in Quincy, who promised me that I would be educated and who kept his word.  It was the priests of the Church who taught me to pray and to forgive my persecutors… it was through the direction of a Sister of Notre Dame, Sister Herlinde, that I learned to interpret the Ten Commandments; and then I also beheld for the first time the glimmering light of truth and the majesty of the Church.  In this Church we do not have to fight for our rights because we are black.  She had colored saints – Augustine, Benedict the Moor, Monica.  The Church is broad and liberal. She is the Church for our people.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Random Thoughts

-- Today is the 96th anniversary of the Fatima children's vision of hell.  Hell is a place filled with the souls of persons who did not believe that there is a hell.

-- The lower house of (formerly Catholic) Ireland's parliament has voted to legalize abortion in cases where there is a risk to the mother's life.  Abortion supporters are thrilled but already saying the bill doesn't go far enough.

-- I have not followed the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case, but I've followed it enough to see that it is a classic example of a trial that should never have taken place. How do you get a fair trial on charges that should never have been brought to begin with? This was manifestly a case of self-defense.  The law simply does not favor the unjust aggressor; nor does it take the position that the right to defend oneself kicks in only at the point where one is too incapacitated to defend oneself.  It does not even require that the person defending himself be upright and virtuous and of impeccable character.  All it requires is that the defendant reasonably believe he was in immanent danger of bodily harm, and that the action he took was necessary to save him from the harm threatened.

-- Reading and listening to accounts of testimony by the state's witnesses in the Zimmerman trial, I would have thought I was getting an account of the defense's witnesses if I didn't know the state was still putting on its case in chief.  Yet jurors, urged by prosecutors to call black white and white black, can still do the wrong thing.  That is why it's unethical for prosecutors to press charges they know they can't prove.  Let us not forget the Duke Lacrosse case, which resulted in the disbarment of the district attorney who brought those utterly bogus charges.  How can the prosecution's request for idiotic lesser-included instructions on charges relating to the abuse of a minor be understood except as an acknowledgment that they failed to prove their case?  

-- I am tired of having people who know nothing whatever about me tell me how much I hate minorities.  I don't hate minorities.  As a practical Catholic, I try not to entertain actual hatred for anyone, however much they may anger or annoy or hurt me.  I doubt that there are very many authentic racists among American whites.  But there are plenty of authentic racists among minority "leaders" and race hustlers of the sort that turned the Zimmerman case into a show trial.  This is not the Reconstruction Era; but for these demagogues and their allies in the media and the Obama regime, Americans would mostly get along pretty well.  Promoting strife and division and the pursuit of imaginary grievances is the devil's work.  When are we going to stop letting him and his tools push us around?

-- Probably the most pitiful figure to emerge from the Zimmerman trial is the pathetic, illiterate, mendacious "star" prosecution witness, Rachel Jeantel.  Thanks to the welfare state and the liberal-dominated public-school system of which she is a product, Rachel Jeantel is as much a slave in the 21st century as ever any of her ancestors were in the 19th.  In fact, her spiritual penury makes her even worse off than they were.  They were beaten, starved, racked with diseases, housed in hovels, separated from their families, overworked and used as concubines by their white masters; but at least they were under no delusions about their plight, or at whose hands they suffered.  That is why, as soon as blacks were given the opportunity to fight for freedom on the side of the Union during the Civil War, they had the will to do so and nearly two hundred thousand enlisted.  Do the Rachel Jeantels of the world have the will to fight and suffer for freedom?

-- And speaking of the welfare state, it seems that Michelle Obama's "healthy" school lunch program is generating a lot of food wastage and loss of money for school districts.  School lunches have always been notoriously bad; but the First Lady has apparently discovered a talent for improving on badness.  Still, the responsibility for feeding kids lies, it seems to me, not with the government but with their parents.  Hey parents: why not do what my mother did, and pack lunches for your kids?

-- While the nation ogles the Zimmerman trial, the Obama regime's burgeoning scandals -- Benghazi, the I.R.S., the N.S.A. -- go unnoticed and un-dealt-with.  

-- Which is an appropriate segue into Mark Levin's intriguing proposal for legal, constitutional recourse against our bloated, out-of-control federal government.  Did you know that Congress does not have the market cornered on amendments to the Constitution, and that the states can also propose amendments?  Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides (emphasis added):
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article [dealing with powers denied to Congress]; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Historically, all amendments to the Constitution have originated in Congress; the other method has been attempted on numerous occasions, even very recently, but although the threat of a constitutional convention has indirectly led to amendments, the method itself has never been successfully invoked.  Yet the Founding Fathers included it in the Constitution, foreseeing a time when the federal government could become oppressive and intransigent.  In an age in which the runaway regulatory state leaves virtually no aspect of our daily lives untouched, that time has surely come.  The question may be raised whether a rogue federal government would really feel less free to disregard an amended Constitution than it does the current one; but I think we should consider it our duty to exhaust all legal and constitutional means of bringing the ruling class in Washington to heel.  Levin has some proposed constitutional amendments in his forthcoming book, due out next month.

-- Still, I will see Levin and raise him.  There is something else that must be done if we are ever to restore our country, and without which we can never get our freedom back even if we hold a hundred constitutional conventions.  It is the one thing that few people are willing to try, even though it is the one thing that is certain of success.  We ourselves must begin to lead lives ordered according to natural law and right reason.  We must rein in our own passions and appetites.  We must stop confusing the pursuit of happiness with the selfish and unbridled pursuit of sensual pleasures.  We must resume the use of good manners and courtesy and consideration for others, and teach the same to our children.  We must live up to our responsibilities, embrace traditional Christian morality and lead virtuous lives.  Disordered individuals cannot help but create disordered societies.  

-- And just in case you think I'm some kind of nut, the critical importance of cultivating virtue was not lost on the Founding Fathers.  In a letter to a cousin, John Adams wrote:
Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.
And it seems well to close with these thoughts that Adams set down in a letter to his wife:
The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming in every part will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or they will be no blessings. The people will have unbounded power, and the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

The Fourth of July

The Declaration of Independence, 1823 William Stone facsimile.
237 years ago today, the Continental Congress adopted and promulgated the Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall.  The Congress had voted for independence on July 2nd.
Vicksburg, Mississippi literally dug in during the seige.
Exactly 87 years later and 150 years ago today, the Union Army of the Tennessee under U.S. Grant followed up the Army of the Potomac's spectacular victory at Gettysburg with the capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Now the Mississippi River belonged entirely to the Union, and the Confederacy was cut in half.  The Civil War was by no means over; there would still be terrible battles and thousands more men would die.  But the Confederacy would never recover from the blows of that fateful first week of July, 1863.

Long live the United States!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Where Is the Justice?

Concerning the George Zimmerman trial, just one observation.

How can you have a fair trial in a case that should never have been brought to trial in the first place?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Second of July: A New Birth of Freedom

Independence Day is actually July 2nd.  July 2, 1776 is the day the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain -- a new birth of freedom.  July 4th is the day the text of the Declaration of Independence was approved and promulgated by the Congress.  The Declaration of Independence contains one of the most famous and oft-quoted passages ever composed in the English language:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Fast forward 87 years to another July 2nd: the day on which a great battle is being fought about 110 miles west of the spot where America declared her independence.  We look back on that battle from the vantage point of 150 years in the future and see, in the culmination of Robert E. Lee's second -- and last -- attempt to invade the North, the turning point of the Civil War.  Yesterday (which, by the way, was also the Feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus) was the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg.  150 years ago today, the 20th Maine, under Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, famously defended Little Round Top, repulsing and scattering John Bell Hood's 15th Alabama Regiment with a fixed-bayonet charge that may have saved the battle, and therefore the whole War, for the Union.  Tomorrow is the 150th anniversary of Pickett's Charge, the futile Confederate infantry assault that marked the South's "high water mark," its farthest penetration into the Union line at Gettysburg and the closest it came to winning the war.  

Around 50,000 Americans, North and South, perished at Gettysburg.  A few months later, on November 19, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg would inspire ten of the most celebrated sentences ever uttered in the English-speaking world:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
As our nation lies again under mortal peril, this time from her own government, we must remember and contemplate our history, and the sacrifices made by so many for generations they knew they would never live to see; we must renew our high resolution that the dead who have given the last full measure of devotion to the cause of this nation shall not have died in vain.