July 1 began the weekend celebration of one of our most precious gifts in this nation: freedom.
There is the freedom to move about and be where we want to be. Freedom to freely choose our way of life. Freedom to be who we are. Freedom to grow and be all we can be. Freedom to speak out. Freedom to work. Freedom to love. Freedom to embrace our God. Freedom to follow a dream. Freedom to follow our conscience and choose what is morally right or wrong. That freedom helps shape every aspect of our life, yet it is taken for granted, seldom thought about and rarely recognized. At least, not recognized until it becomes threatened. Our medical personnel may, in the near future, be required to assist in abortion despite moral objection. Freedom of conscience. Employers are required to provide insurance that enables and finances birth control and abortion. Freedom for the right to life, to embrace our God and live our faith. No matter where we choose to be—a Church, a theater, a shopping mall, a highway, a nightclub, or our own home—someone who has “freedom” to carry a weapon can attack anywhere, anytime and slaughter innocent victims. Freedom to move about and be where we want to be.
In our Land, identities are being stolen. Jobs are being denied because someone is not the “right person” for the job. “Right person”? Maybe not “right” because they are gay, or have the “wrong” color skin,or family background. Many live in the street without food or a roof over their head. Families wake each day hungry and remain hungry, despite working long hours every day. Children are denied a good education. Families and individuals are denied any medical care because of poverty. Where is their freedom to be who they are and be all they can be? Now, just as in years past, Freedom comes with a price. Many of us have members in our own family who fought for our Freedom. Some gave their life to protect it. Hopefully we recognize how blessed we are to live in this Land, and that WE do all we can do to insure that true Freedom and “justice for all” is alive in every heart and home. And so, as in all things in Franciscan life, we begin in prayer.