Independence Day, July 4th. The day we celebrate our freedom. But are
we truly free? Freedom comes at a cost. Those who lived in the Soviet Union
had freedom. Freedom from homelessness, freedom from want, etc. But the
cost was that there was no freedom of speech, no freedom of thought. In
order to create the 'perfect' society, the Soviet Union had to restrict
other freedoms. In short, it wasn't freedom at all, but really a sort of
In much the same way, we too are free. We are free to succeed and to fail.
But whereas we have the freedom of speech, we are not free to go into a
crowded theatre and cry "fire!" Our freedom is tempered with laws, rules.
True and total freedom is another word for anarchy. Yes, they would be
totally free, but their freedom would also mean homes that are fortresses,
with iron bars on the windows. We accept these laws, these restraints, these
limits of freedom, for the sake of freedom.
Today, we hear many speak of their right to do as they please, that they
are free to live and act any way they choose. In the Church, this is
translated as living by their conscience, and that conscience is
formed by their own personal experiences; that the Church has no right to
restrict what they are to do or what they are not to do; that the Ten
Commandments are more like the Ten Suggestions.
From such groups as Call To Action, Dignity, WomanChurch, and
FutureChurch, to name a few, we hear how they promise 'freedom,' free to
'choose', free to live according to their wants and desires, free to be who they
The Apostle Saint Peter says, "These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the
nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. For, uttering loud boasts of
folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely
escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they
themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he
is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world
through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again
entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them
than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known
the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy
commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true
proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to
wallow in the mire"(2 Peter 2:17-22).
Where once they 'knew' the truth, they have rejected it for what they
'prefer' to be the truth; killing an 'informed' conscience, to create one
more to their liking.
"All those who refuse to do penance and receive the Body and Blood of our
Lord Jesus Christ are blind, because they cannot see the true light, our Lord
Jesus Christ. They indulge their vices and sins, and follow their evil
longings and desires, without a thought for the promises they made (at their
baptism, confirmation, etc.). In body they are slaves of the world and of
the desires of their own lower nature….in spirit they are slaves of the
devil. They have been led astray by him and have made themselves his
children, dedicated to doing his work (to confound and confuse the faithful
and lead them away from the truth and God). (St. Francis of Assisi; Letter
to all the Faithful)
"In like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject
authority, and revile the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael,
contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not
presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, 'The Lord rebuke
you.' But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those
things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are
destroyed. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon
themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error,…. These are grumblers,
malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering
people to gain advantage" (Jude 1: 8-11).
"But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of
our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, 'In the last time there will be
scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.' It is these who set up
divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build
yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep
yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
unto eternal life" (Jude 8-11;17-21).
So we see that freedom doesn't necessarily mean what many think. Christ
came to free us from sin, from the bonds, the chains, of sin. Yet many
prefer these chains to the 'chains' of Christ.
"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble of
heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My
burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Christ is calling on us to 'bind' ourselves to Him., to be His servants.
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not
submit again to a yoke of slavery. ….For you were called to freedom,
brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but
through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in
one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and
devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. But
I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For
the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the
Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent
you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not
under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity,
licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger,
selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the
like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall
not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have
crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:1; 13-24).
Imagine the world 'enslaved' by Christ and His Church. We would be free
from being used for any reason. Each person, every life, would be loved and
cherished as a gift of God. No one would use another for gain or personal
gratification. STD's would cease to exist. Poverty would end, wars would be
But the world is enslaved to other things. So we become enslaved to money,
power, pleasure, etc. We see and read how those who are 'worldly' are
elevated. Laws are created to empower them, etc. Yet those who follow
Christ, have taken His yoke upon them, are ridiculed, mocked, and laws are
passed to restrict them, hamper them, silence them.
A saying goes, "Better to rule in hell than serve in Heaven." It appears
our society now lives by that dictum. A new definition of 'freedom' has
allowed the gates of hell to spill out over the land. Corporations get
richer while their workers get poorer, sexual permissiveness has opened the
flood gates of sexual diseases, children killed in their mothers wombs (some
just three inches from birth), etc.
If we truly wish to be free, look to Christ, bound hand and foot to the
"Then Jesus told His disciples, 'If any man would come after Me, let him
deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his
life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For
what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?
Or what shall a man give in return for his life?'" (Matthew 16:24-26).