Today we celebrate our Declaration of Independence, our Birthday of Freedom! -Hard-fought in the beginning, hard-earned through its nearly 2 1/2 centuries, and even harder to maintain today.
Our challenges to Freedom today are unlike the past, even as recently as a few decades ago. Our freedom is being undermined by the seemingly innocuous concept of personal license. For freedom is not license. In fact, license will destroy our freedom, it it is not properly directed and contained.
The Statue of Liberty was given to us by France as a a symbol of the essence of Europe’s Enlightenment. As Julián Carrón writes, “Europe was born around a few great words, like ‘person,’ ‘work,’ ‘matter,’ ‘progress,’ and ‘freedom.’ ” *
These 5 words are more important than ever to look at again today.
Do we honor the person – every person and his/her rights?
Do we honor work with integrity, perseverance and just pay?
Do we honor matter, our resources, our environment?
Do we honor true progress, not just economic, scientific and technological progress but human progress?
Lastly, do we truly honor freedom – individual and communal, religious and secular, for the strong and for the weak, the popular and the un-popular?
On this day of Freedom, let us honor our forefathers and foremothers by thinking on these things. Personal license must give way to true freedom and progress for all persons to work and live with integrity and justice.
And for the beauty and truth that underlies our human existence to express itself more brightly than ever before!
Photo by Brandon Mowinkel on Unsplash
*excerpt from Carrón, Julián. Disarming Beauty: Essays on Faith, Truth, and Freedom (Catholic Ideas for a Secular World) (p. 3). University of Notre Dame Press. Kindle Edition.