Happy 4th to all! I pray you all had a safe and blessed holiday weekend. We celebrated this weekend the Declaration of Independence in which it is stated “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” What beautiful words of wisdom. I am particularly struck by the “unalienable rights” endowed upon us by our Creator; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I think our forefathers had some divine inspiration while writing them. I think they are great words to meditate on because we have our part to play in making our country a place where these unalienable rights are upheld and protected.
After living through Covid, I have a new appreciation for the fragility of life. It can be changed, altered or ended in the matter of seconds. Yet at the same time we know how precious life is. This conflict makes me think about my life and how it should be lived. It has made me want to be more thankful for the blessings I do have, and makes me want to stop taking my own life, or anyone else’s, for granted. There is a saying that a wise priest once shared with me that perhaps you have heard before that states “My freedom to swing my arm stops where your nose begins.” In order for me to have the freedom to seek life and to pursue happiness, I necessarily have to respect the life and freedoms of others. It makes sense that by doing so my own pursuit is actually hastened and not frustrated. All of this continuously proves to me the truth and the relevance of Christ and the Christian message to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), or “do unto others what you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12). When we live this Golden Rule to the best of our ability, we begin to experience an inner coherence and peace, because, wouldn’t you know it, we are living how we have been made to live. Of course, we know that we are broken and don't always chose to live that way, but rather chose whatever suits us and our passions. Jesus has to help us to understand what it means to be truly free. He helps us to realize that it is in choosing the good that allows us to remain free and to achieve lasting happiness.
In summary, if it is our Creator who has endowed us with the rights of Life, Liberty and to pursue Happiness, I would wager that He has given us instructions on how to do that. While there is much more that we could reflect on, I think that some very valuable questions for us all would be, how have my life, my use of freedom and my pursuit of happiness affected others? Do I see that the best way to fulfill all the longings of my heart is to see myself as a gift meant to be given away in love? What changes can I make in my life so that I can live more freely with the goal of eternal happiness in mind? Here’s to an Independence Day filled with peace and joy that comes from true freedom in Christ.