Happy Independence Day, everyone! I hope that you have a blessed and peaceful time with family and friends.
Since I like to be an armchair philosopher from time to time (my wife, who has a degree in philosophy has my permission to tell me that she’s done philosophizing), I’d like to share a reflection on freedom and the imperfect union that I call home.
Freedom is one of the great blessings bestowed on man by God. The animals do not share it with us. They are governed entirely by instinct. Every animal goes through its entire life without ever having to choose. Not the way that human beings choose.
Free will is an essential part of human nature, and it is this freedom that gives us the capacity to love. Without freedom, love is impossible. Love is God’s own nature, and as such, the ability to love is God’s greatest gift to man.
Yet God took a great risk with man, because giving the freedom to love also means giving the ability to choose not to love. And so began the great drama of salvation history. To love or not to love. That’s the real question.
This drama is witnessed in the founding of our great nation, under the ideals of creating a “more perfect union.” Our founding fathers recognized that they were not creating a utopia, a place free from sin and suffering and death. It was not to be heaven on Earth. But it would be more perfect than what came before them.
Saints and sinners have labored together in building this nation for nearly two and half centuries, hoping to transform it into something more perfect. More free. And it has become more perfect. In some ways. Less perfect in others. There is and will always be a tension between what our nation is and what it will become.
When we, as a nation, choose to love and exercise our freedom in a way that is in keeping with that love, our nation becomes more perfect. When we choose not to love, we slide in the opposite direction.
As you celebrate your freedom, consider for a moment how your freedom should be used. Are there ways that you could love more? Are there opportunities for you to sin less? Your choices, added to the choices of 300,000,000 Americans will define the country that we pass on to our children.
May God bless you, and God bless America.
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