“That which gives us true freedom and true happiness is the compassionate love of Christ.”
I was desperate for this past holiday weekend to come. No work, no travels, no camps, no doctors. I ran into one of our friends mid-week at the grocery store and I asked what they were doing. "My parents have the kids for the whole week so we are sneaking away, just the two of us." Suddenly, my upcoming holiday weekend seemed a lot less desirable. I confessed my jealousy to my friend and uttered, "What I wouldn’t give to have a weekend free from the kids!" As I approached Friday, my sulking wasn’t as bad, but it was still there until we gathered for our daily prayer at Catholic Leadership Institute. My colleague Emily shared a beautiful reflection about freedom and invited us to reflect upon not only what we were grateful to have freedom from, but that which we were grateful to have freedom for.
Whether in our nation or in our faith, we are blessed to be free. How often do I fixate on the desire to be free from things rather than free for things? I rush to decry laws and rules that I deem inconvenient or unfair. I can rationalize sin as a form of exercising my rights around what the Church teaches me. Ultimately though, freedom, like what we celebrate in this holiday, is not the absence of responsibility or demands. Quite the contrary. Freedom is the fullest embrace of responsibility. And it is the most demanding of demands. It is the total ownership over what or who you choose to rule you. Do I choose selfishness or sacrifice? Do I choose independence or interdependence? Make no mistake, we are all ruled by something. God freed us from being enslaved to sin, but how many times do I choose to go back into bondage? How often do I ask what God has freed me for? As I watched my children run around with sparklers in the driveway, I felt like maybe I had my answer. Enjoy your freedom and everything it calls you to this week!
PS – In addition to celebrating our nation’s independence, July 4th is also the 30th birthday for Catholic Leadership Institute. Please join us on Thursday, July 15 at 7pm ET
for a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Archbishop Nelson Perez at the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. You can attend in person or click this link to livestream from wherever you are in the country! Thank you for being on this journey with us!