The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

License for Freedom

Americans are having a difficult time these days finding the lines that define virtuous living. In this country if one professed that one was striving to live a virtuous life others might label one as a prude or even a bigot. Citizens of the United State so do cherish their freedom as they have come to understand it. But what if their understanding of freedom has been lost in translation from one generation to the next? Could not the freedom the founding fathers envisioned have transformed into something that even a liberal of that era, Thomas Jefferson, would no longer recognize?

And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man."
Mark (RSV) 7:18-23

The Savior has provided a nice pick list for one to examine the culture as a whole. The first striking thing? The things that defiled man in Christ's day have not changed in the modern era. Anyone who seeks happiness in any of the above sins only ultimately fails in that pursuit. Generations from now, historians will scratch their heads and playwrights will author tragic comedies about the Baby Boom generation that sought to license every human passion. A generation that truly believed its shallow, puny intellect could change the natural law defined by God.

Confusion between freedom and license leads many astray. One has a license to drive a car and the freedom to drive drunk. True, drunk driving is against the law, but if one chooses to break the law, the freedom is there to do it. An electrician has a license to practice his trade and the freedom to ignore the building code. True, there are hefty fines for violating such codes, but the freedom to violate remains. A stock broker has the license to trade securities and the freedom to recklessly transact his client's money. A doctor has the license to practice medicine, and the freedom to kill the baby in the womb at his patient's behest. A couple has a license to marry and the freedom to step out on it.

Through the sacraments, Christ has given humanity a license to be one with the Trinity. This license had been revoked by our first parents in the Garden of Eden when they exercised their freedom and violated its privileges. And even then, this loving God did not throw the lot of humanity into perdition, but rather engaged in a continuous struggle to bring man back to Him, and ultimately sending His only son to pay the fine for everyone's benefit.

Returning to Our Lord's list of things that defile humanity. How many of those sins have been trumpeted as protected rights and in some cases even codified? For example, in America and most of the West, fornication is the expected norm. In all fifty states of America, murder is legal provided the victim has not yet been born, though the law gets a bit fuzzy. A woman can legally have her child killed from conception to birth; however, if the child dies during the commission of a crime against her, then the perpetrator can be charged with murder. Huh?

Licentiousness comes from the Latin word impudicitia, which translates into sexual impurity most often related to homosexuality. It seems nearly every television drama or sit-com has its token episode that celebrates a gay or lesbian couple which only fuels the liberal agenda to legitimize these relationships as equal to marriage under natural law.

The question must be asked, have a majority of Americans truly rejected God's natural law or have they been deceived? Hope remains that it must be the latter. For if it is the former, then the prospects for longevity as a nation are gloomy. Deception is fixable, but a firmness of will proves more unlikely to change, and history has borne out that cultures, even non-Christian cultures, who stray from God's natural law do not last. How many Romans, Aztecs, or Tartars has one run into lately?

God's law is a license to love. One has the freedom to exercise that license or not. As America prepares to once again decide who best represents and reflects her ideals, pray that the person elected strives to protect the true freedom that the country's founding fathers envisioned.

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