Basic definitions of terms used in public conversation based on privately perceived statistical perceptions as in “It seems to me that lots of people think that this word means that” are useful only for exacerbating divisions so as to smash others down, making sure that all are sinners except for oneself.
“Freedom”, for instance, might well be equated by some as narcissistic behavior that does not respect others, you know, the ol’ I feel like murdering you, so I have the duty and therefore right to murder you, you know, because I’m just enjoying my “Freedom.”
Um… No… That’s not what Freedom is all about. We are provided free will by our Creator so that, in all love and in all truth we might continue always to choose that which is consonant with the love and truth which we are called to live. Beautiful. That is eating from the “Tree of the Living Ones” described way back in Genesis.
The word “Freedom” for some has become a moving target, much the same as some have made male/female a moving target with their weirdly self-perceived gender-bender narcissistic “definitions” of masculine/feminine whereby someone momentarily confused about any life experiences would have them think they have to get a surgical intervention to make their genitals fit their momentary depression leading – because of the pandering of society – to suicidal despair. Um… No…
Symbols are particularly open to this kind of manipulation, so that the American Flag is said by some to be a symbol of hate because many say it is. Oh? Really? A symbol of hate?
Making definitions of terms used in public conversation based on privately perceived statistical perceptions as in — “It seems to me that lots of people think that this symbol means *fill-in-the-blank* because lots of people emotionally throw tantrums about it” — making definitions in that fashion is useful only for exacerbating divisions so as to smash others down, making sure that all are sinners except for oneself.
What does the flag actually stand for as a symbol, and what should we all insist upon in public conversation? How about the resolution itself?
- “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.”
After standardized numbering, the thirteen original colonies are still represented by the thirteen stripes, while the stars unified in the azure sky have increased with the number of states in the union, and it is a symbol of unity. Thus far I myself have lived under two revisions, though all such changes to the flag are nevertheless The Flag.
That the Flag represents Freedom is not arbitrary. It is by its very existence placed in contradistinction to the oppression of the Brits, whose oppressive regime at the time disallowed, for instance, the free exercise of religion whether hidden away or in the public square.
There are other symbols of the Flag which were understood at the time, not as arbitrary personal whims, but as historically verifiable meanings. Thus, we find way back in the day, that the secretary of the Continental Congress had it that “White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue…signifies vigilence, perseverence & justice.”
- White = “purity and innocence” — for, of and by the people, but under God
- Red = “hardiness & valour” — lots of blood shed in that valor my friends
- Blue = “vigilence, perseverence & justice” – as continuous as the sky holding the stars
But let’s get back to the Freedom which the Flag does in fact represent. I would like to take the faces of any self-congratulators who dismiss all the teenagers in our national cemeteries, buried there for having shed their blood for our Freedom, having confined themselves to their graves for our Freedom, who laid down their lives for us analogous to how the very Son of the Living God laid down His life for us, so as to grant us the greatest of freedoms – freedom from sin, the freedom to praise God on this earth and in heaven forever – I would like, I say, to take the faces of all those insulting the flag, insulting all those who laid down their lives, and put them face to face with all those youngsters in our national cemeteries, you know, until they appreciate the cost of that freedom.
Does God give us our unalienable rights which we are indeed free to exercise even at the cost of our lives? Yes.
Are those youngsters in our national cemeteries co-workers with God in giving us that free exercise of religion, that freedom of assembly, that freedom of speech…? Yes.
Rant story: While enjoying a meal with a large group of Colombian priests who were discussing all their pastoral initiatives for their respective flocks, I blurted out that, wow, they have done so very much. I’m so naive. I was instantaneously and quite ferociously reprimanded by the youngest of them, who went from calm to white hot over against my stupidity. He stated in no uncertain terms that, No! They have done NOTHING! They have not laid down their lives – yet – for their flocks. He said that they all personally knew priests who had been killed in the line of duty for their flocks. And then came the flood of stories about how those priests had been viciously executed in public even right in front of them. You have to know, this affected me profoundly.
Here’s the deal: We have nothing about which to boast unless this boasting is about the Son of the Living God who threw away His own Freedom to be nailed to the Cross for us, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. We will all of us stand before Him, looking upon Him whom we have all pierced through with our sin, original sin and whatever personal rubbish we ourselves have added, all of us, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
If we think we have actually done something, we’re pretty much lost. But, having said that, the death of the faithful is precious in the eyes of God, and there is no greater love than that one lays down his life for his friends.
Just yesterday I mentioned how many times I’ve been shot at throughout my life, from my earliest years until much more recently, bullets whizzing by my head, an unforgettable sound. My favorite interlocutor said that that’s nothing. Nothing ended my life. There’s nothing there; it’s just normal life, said he. Yes, indeed. I agree. I stand corrected. I’ve done nothing.
Even if we have laid down our lives, for instance, for the free exercise of religion for our friends, I can absolutely guarantee that no one, not even one, will be bragging at the last judgment upon seeing the wounds of the actually innocent Son of the Living God.
In fact, let me just say this right now about myself, because I will certainly do so at my judgment, so says Christ the King; Jesus instructs us to say this:
- “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'” (Luke 17:10)
Well, I hope to be able to say that I’ve done what I was obliged to do, that presuming I have done ALL that which I, which we have been commanded. When it comes right down to it, the one thing we are obliged to do, that which sets us up for a reward, is to get on our knees and humbly and contritely and with firm purpose of amendment confess our sins. “I am a sinner,” says Father George. I beg Jesus’ forgiveness and the forgiveness of any and all I have offended by my idiocy and brashness.
But Jesus will say to those who did bear His love: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)
I hope Jesus will say that to me and will say that to all with whom I’ve had any contact with in this world.
Finally, for those who want a rant of rants in favor of the Freedom of these United States of America. To critics of the Flag, get out of your safe spaces and sing along with Whitney Houston, meaning also reading an analysis of the words of the National Anthem: