True Freedom For All
by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
The concept of freedom is certainly misunderstood in our twenty-first century America. Such a disturbing reality especially pricks us as our beloved country celebrates Independence Day. Wouldn't it be great if the necessary corrective to our lack of comprehension--and adherence--could be applied?
Many of us are absolutely convinced that freedom denotes no limitations: you do what pleases you, and I'll do what I wish. Although many would probably not argue for those exact words, the end result is the same--virtually no restraints.
We who are followers of the Lord Jesus see how fallacious such an approach really is. Christ came to give us freedom, sure, but freedom to be used for our best and lasting interests, namely to attain Everlasting Life, not freedom to break every one of the Ten Commandments and the Precepts of the Church which Jesus Himself established.
In an article entitled "True Freedom Is Not Without Constraints" published in the June 28, 1998 issue of "Our Sunday Visitor" (page 16), I wrote:
"What is the point of freedom? Why be so concerned about its presence? Genuine freedom permits us to love sincerely and serve fittingly (see Galatians 5:13) both God and neighbor. We can't accomplish God's will for us without it.
"Scores of civic commemorations this week will remind Americans young and old about the esteemed value of independence. We will be encouraged to reflect carefully on the treasured freedoms that citizens of this land have taken for granted.
"Yes, we are grateful for the freedom the United States affords us. But as disciples of the Risen Christ, we readily acknowledge that dependence--not independence--makes us free in God's eyes.
"Submitting to the Master frees us from that intense slavery to sin first effected by Adam and Eve and prepares us to be His loyal servants. Jesus shows us the way to freedom by His own heroic suffering and redemptive death.
"His fervent exhortation to reject that alluring spirit of radical independence from the Lord and the snare of impatience is to find a home in our hearts so that we can possess the freedom He came to earth to give."
Jesus wants all persons, not just Christians, to enjoy freedom. All have access to the Natural Law that teaches us the moral demands that are written in our very being. For us to be free, we must obey those requirements. Then, we will flourish as members of the human community, not to mention as members of the Mystical Body of Christ.
O Risen Lord Jesus Christ, the only Liberator of the human race, have mercy on us!
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
Jesus Christ; Spiritual Freedom; Independence Day
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