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Some Aspects of Independence Day - July 4th, Civil Religious Liberty, & Authentic Christian Freedom – Part 2

        Under grace, we Catholic-Christians strive for a deeper development of our human personality in the lights of both reason and revelation (rational thinking and God's Word). We Catholics believe that our human DESTINY has been revealed as GOD ALONE. 'We have no purely natural destiny!' That is our Catholic theological conclusion from the collective data of sacred scripture. We are made to enjoy God's own life in 'time' through grace, and in 'eternity' face to face, in the stability of God's supreme Being and Freedom! Such is human 'happiness in God' for which we were created. Therefore, we need to steer clear of freedom's opposite: –> Slavery of all kinds - our own and of others'. To have a clear ideal of true freedom, we need to register the 'risks' of sin and addictions; for they spell the opposite of freedom. If freedom for me is always choosing good for myself and others, I will abuse neither my own dignity nor anyone else's, once I have acquires discernment and mature freedom under grace.

        Christ freed us for liberty says Paul (Gal 5:1). That means that Jesus Christ offers his followers authentic human freedom, graced human freedom. With it comes the capacity to habitually choose what is good, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That is the 'positive' side of discerning in the concrete the 'negative' blindness of self-deception, the weight of habitual sin, and the enslavement of any crippling addiction. For none of these can bring us happiness; for none of these can make us free.

        Jesus related freedom to his revealed Truth:  If you remain in my word..., you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (Jn 8:31-32). We all want to enjoy the "glorious freedom of the children of God", as Paul puts it to the Romans (8:21). But not a freedom that gives way to the world, the flesh, and the devil;  these three deceptions are vanities that only give us momentary satisfaction, but then they sour into experiential dissatisfaction with our very selves. Willingly being "slaves of God" (Rom 6:22) avoids all "pretexts for evil" and establishes us in the "will of God" (cf. 1 Peter 2:16). Being aligned with the will of God sets us free, personally and collectively.

        'Freedom' (like 'Happiness', and like 'Peace') comes from learning how to love unselfishly -- hot to love God, and love other human beings 'in God'. Love is what freedom is for! "GOD IS LOVE (1Jn 4:16). And God's love is infinitely gratuitous Goodness! His holiness is his Goodness. And remember that because God is absolute Goodness, God is absolutely Free. So, serving the good of persons, contributing to the common good of society, is what freedom is 'for'. Human freedom is never a license to simply do what we please, no matter the consequences. [And, by the way, neither are we free as Christians to choose human 'Means' that illicit and immoral, even when the 'Goal' is good and praiseworthy. Note that this is not even clear to a good segment of our American leadership in this electoral year. Think, for example of –> "Waterboarding" <– as a "Means" to the 'Goal' of National Security! .... Brutality even for a 'perceived Good' is a heinous crime! (Here think 'ISIS'; and I rest my case.)]

        If we want the dignity of Freedom, let us vigorously strive from within for the dignity of Goodness. Think of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount (Mat 5,6,7); therein Goodness knows how to "sacrifice" oneself for genuine advantage, especially for the good of others. think of the generous men and women in uniform of our Armed Services; of our city-police forces and first responders in daily peril amid social chaos [[ and, Yes, 'Black Lives Matter', And 'Blue Lives Matter', because 'All [Human] Lives Matter!' ]];  and also remember our heroic firefighters, ever ready to save our homes and hatred has no place in a 'just society' of mutual respect.

        Jesus Christ is God's Goodness and God's Freedom Incarnate! To serve God "in spirit and truth" means to serve him in "freedom for goodness". May America move more and more towards the service of love in an all-inclusive society:-love of human life and dignity from 'womb to tomb'; love of genuine freedom in committed matrimony between a man and a woman, with children nested in stable-family love; and with other short and lifetime commitments to Society and the Churches that elevate the human condition,  furthering human happiness up against the Kingdom of God still to be fully revealed.

        In Conclusion: May God grant America from home-grown and foreign terrorism! May God make America a gentle force that, by its influence, radiates harmony outward to all human beings, from West to East, from North to South, advancing fraternal and sisterly communion, in all directions, until the Lord Jesus comes again to do what we humans have never managed to do with any stability, namely "To put Humpty-Dumpty back together again"! Amen. And "God bless America!"

Written by Fr. Sam Anthony Morello, OCD
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