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The freedom to know joy
July 9, 2012
by Fr. Thomas Balluff, Church of St. Mary of Czestochowa, Delano

Happy Independence Day! Two hundred thirty-six years ago this July 4th, the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, creating our newly independent country.

We have such a great and beautiful country. We enjoy so many freedoms fought for and won, at a tremendous cost of the lives of so many great men and women of our armed forces, sacrificed throughout many wars.

We have so many freedoms – freedom to practice our religion (to worship our God), freedom to speak our minds (freedom of speech), freedom to pursue happiness through hard work, freedom to vote (political freedom) for whomever we think has the common good most deeply held in their hearts, just to name a few.

But we must always remember that with true authentic freedom comes a great responsibility. In our spiritual life, we have the ability to choose right from wrong, between good and evil, virtue from vice.

True authentic freedom is not the ability to choose right from wrong or to choose from good and evil, rather, true inner freedom comes from choosing goodness over and over again.

Our ability to choose sin and evil is called license. All of us human beings have the ability, through the twisting of our free will, to choose evil and sin. However, the more we choose goodness and virtue, right living, good values, and high principles, the more inner freedom we enjoy. We become, through our good choices to do it God’s way, more happy, peaceful, and joyful. We actually begin to live in the freedom that the children of God enjoy.

Last week, we celebrated the day on which our great country was born. Its true meaning again, is about creating the freedoms that us common folk are able to live by daily. Thankfulness and appreciation are the best responses to God and to those who have given up so much so that we, their sons and daughters can enjoy those freedoms.

There is much in our world that we cannot control. Let us all control what we can – in other words, let us become saints! This is my answer to the craziness happening in our culture.

We can control ourselves. Let us choose life, freedom, goodness, and virtue. Let us choose God and love over and over again – let us dare to be free and become saintly men and women.