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True Freedom in Christ

“Freedom does not mean that right to do whatever we please, but rather to do as we ought. The right to do whatever we please reduces freedom to a physical power and forgets that freedom is a moral power.” Fulton J. Sheen

I recently returned home to Ohio from Illinois. I am originally from Kickapoo, Illinois which is only a short drive to Peoria, Illinois and 45 minutes from El Paso, IL. I am telling you this because Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, a Venerable Servant of God, was ordained in the Diocese of Peoria, and born in El Paso, IL. I affectionately refer to him as my “homeboy”. Whenever I go back to Peoria my first stop is at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria to visit and pray where his body lies in repose in a beautiful crypt. It’s a mini pilgrimage for me. The cathedral has been renovated to prepare for his possible canonization and the faithful visit both the Cathedral and the Museum there from all over the country.

As I asked the Lord what I should blog about in this Fourth of July week, His response came immediately. God reminded me of my trip to the Cathedral and Sheen’s often repeated quote on freedom. Americans love freedom.  Unfortunately, our modern-day society now clings to the notion that freedom “means we can do whatever we want”. What results when a society embraces this type of secular humanism which teaches that each individual is free to choose their own rules and define their own truth? This denial of God’s absolute truth brings with it division and chaos for no two people will agree definitely on what is true. We are seeing this today in America and the world.

“Follow exactly the way prescribed for you by the Lord, your God, that you may live and have long life in the land which you are to occupy.” Dt 5:33

God loves us, his children, with a love that is beyond our understanding. Much like any good parent, God set up rules, standards for living, not to punish us but to protect us. We call these the Ten Commandments. Much like the physical world when the natural law is broken and the consequence is pain, when we break the moral rules ordained by God, sin results and pain follows. Sin separates us from God and has a deep and lasting effect on our soul. As Sheen states, “freedom is a moral power”. Our free will to choose for God or against God shapes our individual lives and society as a whole. America and the world need saints today more than ever; people who will live accordingly to God’s laws in alignment with the Ten Commandments and the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.

I help to facilitate one of the Roses Groups at Hope’s Garden on Tuesday nights. We often hear from the women who attend our group that they are grateful to have a safe place where they can live out their faith boldly with others who are committed to be faithful Catholic women. This safe space helps us all heal when we share our pain and pray with others. Through God’s grace, healing happens in our lives which affects our families and, in turn, all of society. Hope’s Garden has just welcomed the 500th woman on our Mighty Networks App. Let us praise God and thank Him collectively for the work He started in March of 2020 with the establishment of this ministry and ask Him to continue blessing our efforts. May all of us use our God-ordained freedom to continue on this journey together in lifting each other up and striving to become saints.

Karen Baglieri, Member of the Sisterhood of the Mystical Rose of God

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