May the Lord give you peace!
We are just coming off of celebrating our national freedom. I would like to reflect on our religious freedom for a moment. Religious freedom is very important to our way of life as Catholics. Catholics identify themselves as stewards of the Lord’s many gifts. Accordingly, this means that Christian discipleship extends everywhere and to everything. As Pope Francis recently stated, “everything is grace.” God the Father is the creator of all, and this means that our stewardship extends to every area of life, including health care, marriage, immigration and humanitarian services.
Although Americans acknowledge and embrace a form of separation of Church and State for the purpose of living peacefully in a pluralistic society, we do not acknowledge and embrace a way of life that separates faith from the concerns of ordinary life. It is within the challenges of ordinary life that we love our neighbor and for Christians God’s law is fulfilled by loving one’s neighbor as oneself. Jesus states, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”(John 13:35). To separate the freedom to live our faith from those things that pertain to the civil order would deprive Christianity of its purpose of transforming the world according to the plans of a good Creator.
St. Ignatius had a hope for those aspiring to join the ranks of the newly established Society of Jesus in the 16th century. He desired that the young men would ultimately find God in all things, Ut in Omnibus Quaerent Deum. Religious liberty is ultimately about the quest to find God in all things. Anytime an authority, whether it be personal or civil, attempts to compromise the right to religious freedom, the transforming power of the Christian life becomes threatened.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam, Fr. John F. Jirak, Pastor