04 July 2015

Happy Fourth of July!!

Each year this day reminds me that Christians have much to tell America about the nature of true freedom, even while they are grateful for a country which allows them the liberty to practice their faith pretty much as they wish and need. Too often today Freedom is thought of as the ability to do anything we want. It is the quintessential value of the narcissist.

And yet, within Christian thought and praxis freedom is the power to be the persons we are called to be. It is the direct counterpart of Divine sovereignty and is other-centered. I believe our founding fathers had a keen sense of this, but today, it is a sense Americans often lack. Those of us who celebrate the freedom of Christians can help recover a sense of this necessary value by embracing it more authentically ourselves. Not least we can practice a freedom which is integrally linked to correlative obligations and exists for the sake of all; that is, it involves an obligation to be there for the other, most especially the least and poorest among us.

Similarly, we are called by our faith to be stewards of creation, to care for the whole world with a creativity and generosity our freedom makes possible. Fresh urgency and impetus is given this call by Pope Francis' new encyclical, Laudato Si. Today, as we celebrate our independence in the US let us do so by recognizing the fragile gift  and awesome responsibility it really is for us.

Meanwhile, All good wishes for the birthday of our Nation!