Independence – July 4

Independence – July 4

Posted by Reverend Thomas Vander Woude,

As our choir begins their summer break, a special thank you to them and Mr. Don Cotton, our choir director, for their many hours of song and praise at Masses throughout the year. Enjoy the summer!

On July 4, 1776 56 members of the Congress in the Colonies declared themselves independent of unjust English rule. The signing of the Declaration of Independence serves as the date of independence for the United States of America. How the notion of independence has changed since then?!

Yes, ‘independence’ from abusive royalty has remained as a common understanding. However, how is independence understood on a personal level? For many, independence means the ability to do whatever I want to do. Therefore, if I want to worship Satan I should be free to do so. If I want to live a homosexual lifestyle I should be free to do so. If I want to kill my unborn baby I should be free to do so. The list goes on in the land of the free. Yet, the mentality to use my freedom to do whatever I want is not independence, but license, and license never frees. How can sin, which enslaves one’s will, free? Look at the drug, sex, alcohol addict: is he free to say ‘No’ to his addiction? It is a chore to say ‘No’ and why? Sin enslaves. Of course, with God all things are possible. He is the merciful, loving and all-powerful God!

God has given each of us a free will. He will never cross that will. Yet, He has given us guidance in the 10 Commandments, Jesus’ teachings and the teachings of the Catholic Church on how to use our free will. The teachings of Jesus and His Bride the Catholic Church are seen by many to restrict their freedom. They cannot choose whatever they want to do. The Church is legalistic and stifling to their happiness. But, how can the all-good, all-loving God - and the Church He founded and promised He would guide – restrict one’s freedom or stifle one’s happiness? God is the one Who has created this world. He defines what true freedom is! It is precisely when we choose according to His Will that we become truly free and truly happy. It may not be the easiest road, but one that is free and happy.

Mother Teresa was a wonderful example of true freedom and happiness (as is any one of her sisters). She had nothing this world has to offer. She took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Many worldly-minded would say she could not be happy; she wasn’t free. She bound herself to poverty and chastity, how could she be truly free and happy? Look at her life. She was incredibly free and happy. She could have never done what she did if she had not been free from sin.

As we celebrate the freedom of our nation, may we strive to foster true freedom and happiness that comes when one lives his life according to God’s Will.

God bless