Does being free mean that we have no guidelines, no limitations, no grounding?
But isn’t it the truth that sets us free? The truth is that I can do nothing here on this Earth without my limited body, and my body cannot exist here on this Earth without its boundaries. The very Earth is my material grounding and confine, without which I wouldn’t be here. No matter how independent we may claim to be, or may desire to be, we are indisputably and irrevocably dependent upon the necessities of life, like the basic things of food, water, and oxygen.
This is true for the whole of a human being, body and soul.
Jesus said, “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5.)
So I am free. I am free to blossom, free to grow, free to bear the fruit of my gifts to the world, because I am firmly rooted in the heart of reality — I am firmly rooted in Christ.
As we come up on another Independence Day, I’m reflecting on both freedom and fear. I confess that there are many things of which I am afraid — the death of a loved one, the dying process, situations that spark my phobia — and I know that these fears constrain me, I often feel the weight of them heavy like shackles upon my heart. Then I hear the words of Jesus, as was recently read on Sunday, “Do not be afraid; just have faith,”[i] and I feel a little guilty, thinking that this is much more easily said than done.
But then I was reminded of my own words, written in my book, It’s Good to Be Here:
“Children are free from worry when they trustingly put their lives in the hands of their loving parents, and this freedom, gained through faith, allows them to be more open to wonder and joy.
“This is what God, our Eternal Father, intends for us throughout our lives.”[ii]
Like a little child, I am called by my divine parent to follow, listen, and trust. So long as I put my life into the loving hands of my Creator, nothing can forever harm me, nothing can destroy me, so long as I live and move and breathe in Love. With faith and hope in God, I am free. Free to love, free to live fully, both here and now on this Earth and forever in the world to come.
Although Pres. Franklin Roosevelt may have implied otherwise in his famous four freedoms speech, there is no freedom from fear, nor freedom from want, through governmental policies and programs. I know upon whom I am truly dependent, and I also know that “Perfect love casts out fear.“ (1 John 4:18.) But that last truth is not something that I have truly learned yet, it is the truth that I must allow to grow in me. Too many of our sins and failings stem from fear, as from some false root. I pray that God will help my soul to grow healthy and strong in all of His kind and gentle ways. Through His merciful love, may you and I remember “How blessed it is — the blessed privilege of sanctified and redeemed human beings — to live our lives with complete faith in God’s goodness, freely traveling the paths of earthly marvels, with hearts full of childlike wonder.”[iii]
Happy Independence Day!
© 2021 Christina Chase
[i] Mark 5:36.
[ii] Christina Chase, “Childlike Wonder”, It’s Good to Be Here, Sophia Institute Press 2019
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.