Before I came to the United States, the 4th of July was just a day for me. Yet since last year it became an opportunity for me, as it is for the millions of Americans, to thank God for the abundant blessings that he has bestowed upon this blessed country called the United States of America.
When I was preparing for 4th of July weekend, I read the Declaration of Independence. And in doing so, I noticed that despite the Declaration’s name and purpose, its proclamation of independence begins with an acknowledgment of profound dependence: It begins: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights…” And it ends “with a firm reliance on Divine Providence we pledge our lives, our fortunes and our honor…”
Indeed, it’s being dependent on God that we find ourselves most independent. It seems strange, but the key to freedom is to keep depending on God. Christian freedom does not mean being free to do as we like; it means being free to do as we ought. It is the freedom to do as we’ve been shown by Christ, the freedom to love others freely and without reservation.
In other words, freedom is always conditioned by responsibility; responsibility is always conditioned by love; our love is the reflection of God's love; and, therefore, the freedom can rightly be summed up in St. Peter's words: "As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honor everyone. Love the family of believers." 1 Peter 2:16
As we celebrate the Independence Day, let us offer our thanks and prayers to God, the giver of all good gifts, to continue to bless us with a true and beautiful understanding of our independence and freedom. And let us also give thanks to our God of unfailing love for His many blessings to our country.