“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8. 32
A Word of Hope
It is the Advent Season; a time when we anticipate the coming of the Christ who set all of us free. What a hot topic the word “freedom” carries with it today. The brilliant musician, Jim Morrison once said: “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” I couldn’t agree more.
There is only one thing more liberating in this world to me than the feeling I get whenever I hear the word “freedom” and that is to introduce somebody else to their own. Part of this is something that I got from my mother when she named me Charles because she wanted to call me Charlie, her free spirit. I don’t think she ever came to regret that choice, but I have a feeling she didn’t know to what extent I would embrace my own personal freedom! I became a person who was all about choice. I believe the rockiest times of my life are the times that my personal freedom to choose had either been censored or taken away all together. Those times are so rare these days in my own life, but not at all rare in so many lives around me.
In America, we boast about the freedoms as a personal rite of passage, yet there are those living in our nation using their political power and money to disenfranchise others based on their personal prejudices. And far too often they are using their religious affiliation as an excuse. Nothing exasperates me faster than having a freedom to be or do something one day that is gone the next. Historical examples of this easily come to mind: freedom from slavery, but still fighting for civil rights; women’s right to vote, but still in an ongoing push for total equality; marriage between opposite genders exclusively evolving to same sex marriage, but with debates and threats still raging.
I have never been so driven as I am today to stand up not only for myself, but to inspire others as to their right to be able to stand up for their own personal freedoms even though they might come with great sacrifice. The word “freedom” is an oxymoron since nothing in this world is absolutely free. Yet we live in a time in which our politicians, policies, and our very right to choose are bought and paid for with the mighty dollar of the very few.
We must realize that there are more of “us” than “them” and it is time for us to realize the great power our voices and non-violent actions. The truth will make us free. It’s time that we join together to become the body of Christ, that not only knows the truth, but proclaims it. Being an armchair activist or even a social media protester is very limited. My favorite image of the radically liberal Jesus is the plain-spoken teacher who made his physical presence known and overturned the worlds of those corrupt religious leaders and so-called elected officials of his day; the ones who continually used their wealth and power to marginalize.
As we look forward to the spirit of the Christ to be born again in us this Advent, It’s time to remember what being the physical presence of Jesus really means in this world; to show our love for all humanity by resisting the corrupt status quo. So, ask yourself what you can do today to become your own personal revolution? How can you stand up for the disempowered ones close to you who need your strength the most? The Spirit of Christ is in you. What is the Spirit leading you to do? “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
You have made us free. Lead us to radically deliver that same gift to others.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare