Sunday, July 3, 2016

On Freedom

I love America! This is my adopted country; I call it home. And so I pray fervently for her to return to her roots. I didn't appreciate the Constitution to the degree I do now when I became a naturalized American citizen at the age of 19. It's a lot like being married. I didn't fully appreciate what it was but the longer Michael and I are married, the more deeply we are in love with one another. And so it is with these great United States, even though the country is moving towards a self-destructive path. We aren't free; we are enslaved in sin. The measure of the greatness comes from how well a society cares for the least -- the young, the old, the infirm, the poor.

We are failing miserably. What kind of freedom is this where we kill our babies and we kill our elderly instead of walking with them through their suffering? Lord knows I've wanted to die a hundred times because of pain I cannot bear. It would be the easy thing to do. But not courageous. Courage is living with pain, doing your duty, loving. But in our weak moments we need others who can stand by us and defend us. Not kill us. 

Every successful society is governed by laws that evoke a Creator. Our moral code is based upon a Judeo-Christian understanding of life. But increasingly, people are departing from it. We are our own gods. The self is the highest good. Descartes "I think therefore I am" has been taken to absurd heights with no basis in reality. Moral relativism is all the rage. People think there is no absolute truth, just mine and yours and his and hers. But there is a thing as objective reality and we ignore it.

Will God bless America? Or will He chastise us for not living by His precepts, for spitting in His face? We see over and over how the Jewish people were punished when they followed false gods. Reading Monsignor Pope's reflection on the prophet Amos was sobering. He writes, "Amos reminds us that our sins and injustices cannot go on forever. God hears the cries of the poor, the aborted, the victims of the sexual revolution, the children who suffer from their parents’ misbehavior, those who suffer on account of our greed, and many others.

I am not able to see the future in detail, but it is biblically and historically true that indulged evil and sin cannot last. They carry the seeds of destruction because they are rooted in selfishness. And selfishness does not build families, nations, or cultures. While evil has its day, it also has its end, which is destruction."

It is time to repent and turn to the Lord. He is merciful and just. And let us mean when we sing America the Beautiful: America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw. Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.  Mary, pray for us. Help us to choose our leaders wisely, those who will uphold life and true liberty.

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!


Faith E. Hough said...

Lu and I had an interesting conversation today about freedom and "the American dream"--how that used to mean the opportunity to raise one's family in a place where our freedoms were protected, but now it's all about money! I love "America the Beautiful" and its line (among others, including the one you quoted) "May God thy gold refine/ 'til all success be nobleness and every gain divine."
And of course that conversation got us started (once again) on what a great book ECHO is. The way the tyranny of Nazi Germany is juxtaposed with the flawed freedoms of America was so striking and thought-provoking (even to an 8-year-old). Unfortunately, if we continue to oppress the weakest members of our society, we're no better than that government who wanted to eliminate all the disfigured and handicapped and Jewish (and so on) members of theirs.

Bish Denham said...

And shouldn't this freedom we love so dearly also include the freedom to choose? Leave the judgement up to God as to whether or not it is a sin. Our job, it seems to me, is to love unconditionally and be compassionate.

May you and your family have a glorious 4th of July!

Mirka Breen said...

I was born a U.S.A. citizen, but grew up elsewhere. This is part of why I love and appreciate this land more than some of my native friends. I see this generous expansive country as the haven it is. Happy July 4th!

Vijaya said...

Faith, I love that phrase too and goodness, Lucy is such a great kid and thoughtful for her age. "Unfortunately, if we continue to oppress the weakest members of our society, we're no better than that government who wanted to eliminate all the disfigured and handicapped and Jewish (and so on) members of theirs." This is what I fear.

Bish, I agree with "Our job, it seems to me, is to love unconditionally and be compassionate." So we must define what it means to love, to be compassionate. To love a person means doing what is best for them, which includes helping them avoid a sinful situation, even if the govt. sanctions it. Compassion means to suffer with a person, not showing false mercy and killing them.

Mirka, I think people who've lived in other places are able to appreciate the US so much more.