Today In Fact, 01 August

A great day of freedom and liberty.

Catholics around the World celebrate today as St. Peter in Chains. Saint Peter the Apostle was imprisoned by King Herod and put in chains. The Acts of the Apostles, a book written following Luke’s Gospel, tells how an angel released Peter from his chains and led him out of prison.

Charles Wesley’s hymn sums up the thinking:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray; I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

It is not then without reason that today marks the end of slavery in the British Empire. Today in 1834 slavery was officially abolished by the Slave Abolition Act of 1833. Across the globe and especially in the West Indies, great carnivals are still held to celebrate emancipation.

Not to be outdone, the Swiss celebrate their national day for today in 1291, three central Cantons pledged an oath; the Rütlischwur and threw off their Hapsburg masters.

A translation of the Rütlischwur goes something like this:

We want to be a single People of brethren, Never to part in danger nor distress. We want to be free, as our fathers were, And rather die than live in slavery. We want to trust in the one highest God And never be afraid of human power.

So today, whether Swiss or not, celebrate the human heart’s deepest desire: to be free. Remember too that many people are still living in slavery.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (