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Most Rev. Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS | July 2023

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ – July 2023

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My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate Independence Day this month, I wanted to reflect on the nature of freedom. What is it, and what does it truly entail? We cannot discuss freedom without first addressing free will and the gift of reason. An all-knowing Creator endowed us with the ability to choose or reject him in our thoughts, words and deeds. This humbling fact reflects God’s power and greatness and the unceasing love he has for each of us. When we choose to live out our calling to love the Lord and our neighbor as ourselves, we begin to comprehend the nature of true freedom.

We are called to the freedom that can only be attained in the total abandonment to God’s divine will. Our burdens feel light when we offer our concerns and struggles to Jesus. The freedom we desire in the depths of our hearts was accomplished on the shoulders of Christ on the cross. That moment — eternally embodied in the living sacrifice of the Eucharist now dwelling in tabernacles in every corner of the world — is freedom incarnate.

We have the responsibility to uphold the freedom gained for us by others who have gone before us, and we have the duty to perfect it, with Jesus’ help, for those who will follow us. We read in the book of Galatians, “You brothers were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love” (5:13-14).

As Jesus came to redeem the human person for the greatness of the Father, we are called to stand by our brothers and sisters in their personal journeys to true freedom. We are social creatures, made to echo the Word — the message of all goodness and freedom — to our human family. Only when we devote the whole of our beings to the mission of Christ, the great liberator, can we experience freedom. Then, it will flourish in our communities, our families and in the hearts of every person we encounter in the nation.

Freedom is not possible without love. It is enunciated through virtuous living and the imitation of Jesus, who broke the shackles of sin and death. Today, think of one way you can restore freedom in your own home and personal life. Start with something small, perhaps offering a few moments for an unspoken act of charity for another, and watch as your life and our culture are transformed.

Happy Independence Day!