As we have celebrated our freedom as a country this holiday weekend, it is worth pondering what it means to really have true and lasting freedom. Modern society suggests that freedom is a release from the “shackles” of any semblance of faith or morality, at least to the extent that it might challenge our ability to do what we want. But is this true freedom?
Christ tells us, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6) and that “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). Therefore, as Pope Benedict said in Washington D.C., authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God.
The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. “In his will is our peace”.
Real freedom, then, is God’s gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32)…When we put on “the mind of Christ” (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us! In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world. (Pope Benedict, Homily at Yankee Stadium)
“Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in – a participation in Being itself.” (Pope Benedict, Washington D.C. 4/17/08)