In the United States, we will soon be celebrating Independence Day. Sometimes, we, moderns, think that the United States was formed without any thought of God. Americans, we believe, are self-made Men who will not submit to the authority of any other country – or any god. If that’s what you believe, then you don’t understand the very foundation of the United States of America at all.
Our foundation is the Created Order, which is truth, to which we are subject. We don’t just do what we do because we feel like doing it. The rational mind understands cause and effect, in the truth of order. And the rational mind also understands that faith is not without reason.
Sharing here two quotes. Let’s start with a famous one that we will credit to Thomas Jefferson. And then go on to a quote that I was surprised to learn came from jovial Benjamin Franklin. I invite you to reflect upon them as you will, this Independence Day. But, try not to stray from the truth of the quotes themselves. Following each are some of my own reflections…
And the next part is important to remember, to underscore the fact that our inalienable rights do not come from the government but, rather, are God-given. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”.
The United States government does not give people liberty. We are free people who have instituted the government of the United States in order to protect our freedom and safeguard our God-given rights. This is more than a political reflection, because it helps us to understand who we are as human beings in a universal way:
Times and trends do not determine truth. We, humans, did not invent ourselves. The Creator of All created us with truth, in truth, through truth, as part of the Created Order. What is is.
Yes, we are made differently than other creatures. We can think about thinking, we can imagine, and we can make choices. We can even love the “unlovable”. No one is greater or better or more valuable than another. We are journeying together in the pursuit of life fulfillment and joy in the Created Order.
The world in which we live, however, is not perfect. Paradisiacal islands are formed from volcanic eruptions of lava and ash; there are beautiful trees that can only bear new life under fire; and some species of creatures need the blood of other species in order to survive. Creation in the Created Order requires ebb and flow, give and take.
But, none of these are capable of cruelty. Only Mankind is. Our ability to love the unlovable, a wondrous light to choose, has with it the shadow ability to hate. We abuse and neglect the innocent. We insult, ridicule, and divide. Some of us take pleasure from the pain caused by torturing others. Some of us, perhaps even most of us, choose to be indifferent to the pain of our fellow human beings.
And, yet, none of this negates the innate fact of our creation – that we are all created, and that we are all created equal. No one is greater or better or more valuable than another. We are all journeying together, whether we like it or not, in our pursuit of fulfillment and joy in truth. When we seek to take away another’s fulfillment or destroy another’s truthful joy, we are only creating cruelty, discord, and our own ultimate dissatisfaction.
The Created Order is what it is. The truth is what it is. Trying to run away from it is like trying to run away from your own feet. You’ll only trip yourself.
When we pursue happiness, and when we seek to institute safeguards to protect ourselves and our fellow human beings in our pursuits, we must always do so in truth. To go against the Created Order, to set ourselves up as gods and turn to ourselves as the measure and meaning of all things, is to go against truth. It is to be fools. There can be no fulfillment of life if we look outside of the truth of life, the way of life, to find that fulfillment.
There is order in life, in the universe. Order has been ordered. And, so, there is an orderer. We are not that Source. But, so, too, we are not mere products of that source. We cooperate with the Creator in the living of life – thinking about thinking, imagining, choosing, loving – and this is our ultimate fulfillment. We were not made for the purpose of breaking but, rather, for the purpose of building. Our true fulfillment and joy, however, is in building from the blueprint that is already given, not from one that we make up as we go along. In truth is joy.
That which we call God is self-evident. And truth is truth.
It is truth that sets us free.
Happy Independence Day!
© 2016 Christina Chase
Benjamin Franklin quote: Constitutional Convention, June 28, 1787
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.