“Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake,” wrote Rabindranath Tagore.
In the present modern culture, freedom is considered largely as the greatest good there is, after which all other good things must follow. In political parlance, artistic freedom and freedom of speech takes precedence over every other moral value. In the religious sphere, freedom seems to be truly a fundamental value. Any Religion that ought to make an impact in this world would need to act as a force for freedom of humanity. This sort of a relentless quest for freedom stresses on the human will as the only criterion of action.
But when the human will acts without reason it acts like a ship without a rudder. On the global level, this principle is realized in the widespread acts of terrorism and totalitarian ideologies. On a micro level, freedom has been narrowed down to individual rights. E.g Abortion appears to be one of the rights of freedom – woman must have total control over herself. She must have the freedom to bring the child into the world or to rid herself of it. She in fact, now decides for the other person who is living in her womb. This new person is not allowed any freedom. It’s a question of two freedoms here. The mother’s freedom is in conflict with the child’s freedom. This idea of being ‘like God’ tends to detach the biological from humanity. It separates the biological aspect from the person and thus turning it into a thing. This so called liberation of humanity turns out to be its own degradation, making humans as mere objects of production. Can we call this a true freedom?
We may ask here the fundamental question of what true freedom is. True Freedom lies in the choices one makes while respecting the mutual support one has for another. – “to be me I need you”. The child needs the mother to exist. Thus, here lies the nature of human freedom that perennially implies interdependence of beings.
Mary our blessed Mother is the first of believers who exercises her freedom by aligning her will to God’s will. Mary’s freedom and God’s will unite into the deepest interplay of mutual love. For in Mary we contemplate the victory of divine love which no obstacle can hold back and we discover to what sublime freedom God raises up the lowly. When we mutually respect each other’s freedom, we enhance life. The loss of this truth results in the loss of freedom as seen in the gross violation of human rights, widespread inequality of income, dehumanizing poverty, injustice and corruption at every level of society. In contrast, Mary upholds the truth that every human being is interdependent and in exercising her freedom to depend on the Divine as the absolute Good makes her absolutely free from within to be detached from everything.
Freedom is not an end in itself, but a means to attain happiness without violating the rights of the other. In the Assumption, Mary is filled with joy precisely because of her hope of living in the ethereal presence of God who is the source of all joy and at the same time detaching her from all things that would hinder inner freedom. She has found the Truth that sets her free! (Jn 8: 32). We pray for our beloved country that every citizen may find the Truth and thus experience true freedom. Wish you all a Blessed Feast of the Assumption of our Lady and Happy Independence day.