with apologies to Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776 penned these immortal words: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”[1] While the focus of his article was on the then ongoing struggle for independence from Great Britain, his words still ring as true today as they did 239 years ago.

One Nation Under God

One Nation Under God

As then, we are living in time of crisis, under siege by a tyranny, not one of cruel and oppressive might, but one of the soul. The soul of any nation and of its people is that ineffable quality which defines them. A soul, pure at heart and courageous in the face of tyranny and oppression, serves as the ever vigilant guardian of freedom, the bulwark against which no tyrannical force may ever prevail. When the soul of a nation is sullied and tarnished by “the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot” and the guardians no longer stand vigilant against the forces of hell, then freedom will be denied and tyranny will reign triumphant.

No doubt when Paine wrote “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value” he did not envision the current crisis but his observation holds true today. According to several government reports and supported by independent research analysis nearly 50% of Americans now receive government benefits of one form or another. One study reported that 60% of Americans were receiving more in government benefits than they paid in taxes. We have become addicted to cheap stuff at the government trough and the more we obtain the less value we place upon it.

The soul of a nation under God is a righteous nation, filled with the souls of a people who worship God and love their neighbors as themselves. Without God at the helm no nation on this earth can withstand the forces of hell. This is nothing new for history is replete with analogues identical to our own. Unfortunately, history is no longer considered relevant and what passes for history has been distorted well beyond recognition to salve the wounds of perceived injustice. History has been reduced to this: Truth is truth only if it is what one wants to hear and facts are inconvenient truths and therefore irrelevant.

God has become irrelevant along with his truth. His truth is one of love, mercy, and forgiveness. As we love God so we must love one another. Without God, what we obtain we obtain too cheap and esteem too lightly. Life becomes but a cheap commodity, subject to the whims of a fickle master. Tyranny cannot be easily conquered but freedom obtained so dearly is worth any price.


[1] Thomas Paine, The Crisis, December 23, 1776.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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