As Americans, we are blessed by God with freedoms to do or say almost anything we want, with more food than one nation can possibly consume, more resources than we can possibly use, and the protection of the mightiest military ever assembled. As Christians, we strive to be more than the material world. By virtue of our human reason and free will, we are unique among all other created things. We can freely choose to accept or reject God’s graces. Turning away from God is not true freedom. It is an abuse of our freedom that enslaves us into a culture of apathy and violence which threatens human life and dignity. The Church teaches to understand freedom we must consider the nature and purpose of our humanity – that each of us are made in the image and likeness of God.
St. Pope John Paul II said freedom destroys itself when it is not based on objective truth. By virtue of our ability to reason and our free will, we are compelled to seek the truth. Our Creator instilled this divine drive within us so we would seek Him, for God is the truth. Once we find the truth, we are obligated to live it to the best of our ability. Those obligations include sacrificing our blessings to ensure everyone can enjoy the “certain unalienable Rights” that we believe in. We cannot satisfy this obligation knowing there is coercion in our society. After all, how can we thank God for our blessings but ignore the suffering and death of people at the hands of ruthless oppressors, natural disasters, and in famine stricken regions of the world?
As Americans we have the moral responsibility to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves when these privileges are threatened or violated. This Memorial Day we honor our fallen brothers and sisters who gave their life so others may choose freedom and seek the truth. The “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.” May we pray for those who sacrificed their lives for a purpose they believed was greater than themselves. May perpetual light shine upon them, and may they rest in peace.