The Gift of Freedom
This weekend we celebrate our freedom, our Independence Day. What could be more American than freedom? Yet, have you ever stopped to think about what that freedom really means or where it comes from? Ultimately, our freedom cannot simply be about doing whatever we want and no one stops us. True freedom is the freedom not to do what we want, but to do what we ought. We are most free when we become the people God created us to be.
In our Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers recognized that the right of people to be free comes not from government but from our Creator who has endowed us with “unalienable rights.” It was for the same reason that the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950’s. Communism was trying to remove belief in God from public life, leaving only the state as the source of rights and freedom. If the government thinks that it gives us freedom, it can also try to take away our freedom. The recent attempts to remove the “Creator” from the Declaration or “under God” from the Pledge shouldn’t just make us sad, it should make us scared.
If we will not be a nation under God, then we will inevitably be a nation under tyranny.
The truth is that freedom comes from God and we are truly free only when we give ourselves completely to God. We have no better example us this than our Blessed Mother. She found great freedom in her complete obedience to God. An even more perfect example of this is God himself. Jesus entrusted himself completely to Mary as a little baby. If Jesus could give himself into Mary’s hands this way then we should too. Blessed Pope John Paul II took as his papal motto, Totus Tuus, “totally yours.” Everything we have belongs to God. In the great irony of the Christian life, it is when we claim nothing as our own and give ourselves totally to Jesus through Mary that we are able to be truly free.