Independence Day…what for?: Weekly Message for 07-05-16

Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:

Nothing quite captures the American spirit like Independence Day.

Barbecues, fireworks, and forests of flags mark it as a quintessential holiday that celebrates what the nation holds dear.

But what is independence about? Is it just a political break with a mother country? Is it a buzzword that assures us that we have a right to do anything we want? Is it simply freedom from constraint?

Pope St. John Paul II famously said that freedom isn’t freedom from, it is freedom for. Freedom isn’t just about being freed from shackles. It is about being free to seek the heights of goodness and truth.

His take on freedom comes to mind in a special way as we celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. this year.

Glancing around the country – at its election-year coarseness, its redefinition of gender, its fraying social fabric – one could well imagine the shock that the Founding Fathers would feel if they could come back for a peek at the nation they helped wrought. They would marvel at its technology and infrastructure as much as they would shiver at its moral climate.

One institution from colonial times might still be recognizable to the Fathers, however. The Church, notwithstanding its human weaknesses, would have weathered the test of time, with its consistent beliefs, its defense of marriage and family, its works of charity.

It is the riches of this Church – its teachings and its spirituality, in particular – that RC Spirituality seeks to share. In that way we do our little part to help our readers and viewers use their own independence to seek the higher things of life. That is a mission we find worth celebrating.

I pray that all our readers use their freedom with the mind and heart of John Paul II.


God bless,

Father Edward McIlmail, L.C.
Ask a Priest contributor

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