A Precious Possession
And its true meaning for you!
+Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), SSJt., Ph.D.
Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate
Thaddean Fathers Publishing House
212 So. 16th Av., Caldwell, ID 83605
“Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater!”
One of the most precious possessions of every individual is freedom. It is a possession that demands dedication to protect it against human destruction. Yet, the centuries, since the founding of freedom as a way of life, this precious possession has been misused and abused. People have abused freedom in the name of freedom, both in personal life and in government. Freedom can mean different things for some, even the very opposite of its true essence. People have corrupted and destroyed the very life and institutions they pretend to support in the name of freedom. This misuse and abuse of freedom makes society less than it was intended to be. The ideal of freedom needs to be understood and practiced correctly in order to accomplish its goals and ultimate good.
As freedom is everyone's profound endowment, one is called upon by nature to cultivate and cherish it. This is done in such a way as to make it one's own valued possession. The innate desire for freedom, physical and spiritual, is rooted in one's very nature. The value of freedom goes beyond individual freedom, relating also to one's fellow man and to one's God. The paradoxical character of freedom in human life is that it is misunderstood to the extent that some consider freedom the opposite of what it is meant to be. Despite these two aspects of freedom, the innate desire and its paradoxical mode, one has the illusion that the right of choice is the test of controlling one's own destiny. In this illusion, freedom is viewed by some as an independent entity without limitations. Nevertheless the opposite is proven. The reality is that the more total freedom that is sought, the greater the restrictions that are placed on it. The best illustration of this is that the society in which one lives must enact laws and regulations in the name of freedom.
Harmonious living in a society depends on restrictions to protect the freedom of the individual. One who desires freedom should first exercise his rights as a citizen by obeying the laws and rules by which it is governed. For example, one cannot drive his automobile without first knowing the laws and meaning of signs, and obeying them. One has the freedom to drive an automobile, but must drive it in the right lane and obey the signs. Here is freedom, but with restrictions; if there are no such restrictions, there is no freedom, and the driver is not likely to reach his destination. Citizens use their free will to enact restrictions, because they wish to live with freedom. Freedom in this case also involves protection of the individual, whose personal life would be endangered by others without some restrictions. Freedom has high expectations, not only as an object of moral and political conviction, but of hope as well. The desire for freedom is inscribed in governing laws and especially the concept of life based on justice.
THE ORIGIN OF FREEDOM
There was a time in history when freedom in the world did not exist. People had no freedom, for they were governed by tyrants and their empires. They were slaves at the mercy of one man who headed the empire. Although freedom has been an innate desire in all peoples from the beginning of time, it did not come to man until some 2,500 years ago. Freedom began in a small city where the beginnings of civilization and human dignity were to spread to the far corners of the earth. In this small city, the principle standard was that there was not to be an absolute obedience to any one man. That principle resulted in a free government elected by the people themselves, in which the people would be obedient to the governing laws they enacted.
"We are a free government, but we obey the laws, especially those laws which protect the oppressed and the unwritten laws, which if broken, bring shame," was spoken by one of the city's great statesman. He also said: "We are free and tolerant in our private lives; but in public affairs we keep the law;" and, "We give our obedience to those whom we put in positions of authority." This unique and unequalled system of governing made it possible for citizens to show to one another gestures of kindness and charity, without which their lives would have been unbearable. The people of this small city thought the individual was not free if he could do whatever he wanted; he was considered free if he had self-control. The people believed that freedom was obeying what they themselves had sanctioned and approved.
The inhabitants of this small city felt a deep personal responsibility for the well-being of the entire city. They did not consider this an imposition, but their duty stemming from pride in their city and government. The citizens of this small city felt endless vigilance to protect freedom as the price of freedom. This small city where people first discovered freedom and free government was ancient Athens in Greece. Citizens felt that freedom was an obligation to the state and not of the state to the people. They felt freedom becomes corrupted when citizens want a government which will provide a comfortable living for them without requiring any responsibility from them. Lack of responsibility would reflect weakness and selfishness. Their principle was that freedom of government depends solely upon the ideal of freedom and the responsibility the people feel toward it.
This freedom as a state or condition of the human being is life's most precious possession. It demands, however, one's dedication to guard against human destruction, because through the centuries, since the founding of freedom as a way of life, people have misused and abused it. Whether in government or in personal life, people have abused freedom in the name of freedom. Freedom means different things to different people, sometimes being the very opposite of its true essence. People have corrupted and destroyed the very life and institutions they pretend to change in the name of freedom. This very abuse and misuse of freedom makes society less than it was intended to be. The ideal of freedom needs not only to be understood, but practiced correctly to achieve its desired goal.
FREEDOM NEEDS A CAUSE AND DESTINY
In order to have real meaning and true value, freedom needs a cause and destiny, for without them, it is chaos. With no cause or destiny, freedom becomes anarchy, a state of confusion and disorder, a human instrument of destruction. Freedom is not a theory relating events or static values, but an active reality with a source of inspiration. As such, it is a human power dedicated to defend and serve higher values of life. Without purpose or destiny, freedom is not the gift it should be. This perverted freedom becomes instead a tool undermining the foundation of the individual's higher values. It usurps the rights of the individual, and thrives in the midst of disorderly life. Freedom is not an independent value of human life. Freedom is instead one's free choice to subordinate energies and thoughts to real values. The question is, what is the real value of life which free man defends and serves? The true value of life is the truth which will set man free. As such, truth is the cause of freedom; freedom and truth in life go hand in hand; one cannot exist without -the other. The definition of freedom becomes much clearer when the meaning of the truth is clear. Freedom and truth constitute the essence of the Church, which is the "pillar and ground of the truth. "
Freedom has many concepts, stemming from the inner-self and external conditions, and there is a relationship between the two. Everyone is free by nature to make choices and decisions. There is freedom from want, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and many other kinds of freedom. The question is whether or not one can accomplish these freedoms alone? This desire for freedom requires a constant battling of the elements of nature itself, for human beings cannot live under the uncultivated conditions nature provides. The desires to be free from want has forced science and technology to develop and flourish, especially during the 20th century. These two have adapted the raw elements of nature and earth to produce more goods and services. The original raw materials have been changed and adulterated repeatedly by the sciences. The use of chemicals in the ground and strip mining are two examples.
Primitive man in his cave, in captivity to nature, had to cultivate his environment with his own abilities to allow for better and safer living. The outgrowth of his free spirit, as he changed his pace of thinking and living, was science. This innate impulse toward freedom has not achieved true freedom, but instead dependence upon everything. The more the human cultivates the environment, the more he discovers that there are many other facets of living and thinking. It must be realized that much has not yet been reached by man's understanding and skill. Man's dream far exceeds his abilities and achievements. Freedom and knowledge are entering into another sphere of the unknown, that is the sphere of truth to which science and technology are subordinate. As such, the truth is both the cause and destiny of freedom. If a transformer is not good, it cannot transmit light. If freedom is not based on the truth, it cannot result in a correct opinion or action, but only lead to a misleading theory, a disguised opinion.
LIMITATIONS OF FREEDOM
Freedom has always been sought by the human being. Not only has the human race made much of freedom, but it has always been a goal of both individuals and nations. So much importance has been placed on freedom that it is basic to moral and political life. Although freedom has sacred implications, it has its limits and bounds. When there are no bounds, anarchy results, and when one is free without bounds, anarchy also results. Anarchy and boundless freedom are one and the same expressed differently. One can theorize freedom, but it is another thing to put it to practical use in daily living. It is here that the trouble begins.
Trouble begins when certain persons, through vanity and misinterpretation of freedom, are unable to contain or control themselves. These persons at times become openly rebellious against the disciplined life in general within society. They want to live their lives as they please, doing what they want without concern for others. In reality, we cannot always do as we please, for our actions have much effect not only on our own lives, but on those of the people around us.
An illustration of this kind of boundless freedom can be shown in a family unit. This kind of condition would make each member of the family a law unto himself. In such a case, each member would think only of his own rights, with no responsibility toward other family members. Family members would go their own separate ways, building for themselves their own little worlds, without caring for the needs of the other family members. This could not be considered a home; it would be a house full of strangers, each being indifferent toward other members, and ultimately resulting in chaos and anarchy. If this pattern occurred in local and world society and in the business world, where all, from the executive to the janitor, would go their own way and do as they pleased, havoc would result. If all did as they pleased, came when they pleased and left when they pleased, what success would a business have? Therefore, in such situations there is no unlimited freedom, nor can there be. In order to have an orderly business or undertaking, certain regulations must be followed by everyone. In such situations, there can be no total freedom for any individual.
Moral ideas that sustain society in most instances are to be found in freedom that has certain limitations and conditions. Freedom can be free only when it accepts certain limits in the general interest. This freedom has limits of life, integrity, justice and compassion. As an example, is it an example of freedom when one strikes back at one you love when that person has hurt you? No, for that impulsive response is not an expression of freedom. Can one compromise his great convictions and integrity? No, for where then is his freedom? Freedom without bounds does not really exist, nor can it be achieved and applied as such. Freedom is the power behind these values of life which is refined in discipline and which avoids the contradictions of life.
FREEDOM AS A QUEST
The struggle against nature to meet needs of the people does not imply that they can replace nature itself. It does indicate that the human being tried to bring together both the raw material and laws of nature in order to live within his environment. One's need or want is ever-present to limit his freedom. In attempting expansion of one's freedom the more one has, the greater the longing for more. It is evident that people rarely are satisfied even in the midst of plentiful material goods. The limitations on their freedom becomes obvious. Who or what will set people free? This question of freedom is not basic to most lives, because no one dares suggests personal perfection. Being an individual with many abilities, yet not being able to save oneself or prevent agony, to whom or what should one turn?
The human searches for and demands a measure of limited life as an integral right assured him by nature. This is an expectation never fully satisfied. Imprisonment and slavery are contrary to one's natural rights. The human's attitude toward freedom — that originally he possessed this privilege, but lost it — is a mysterious wonder. This nostalgia for freedom is a witness to this mystery of life. The pursuit of the totality of freedom is a pure and divine endowment. • Over the centuries, many wars have been fought in defense of this freedom. In certain instances, this defense was not justified, but merely a rationalization for conquering and enslaving other peoples. This misinterpretation of freedom exists even today.
This freedom is affected by the real values and principles of life. Its cause is truth; its destiny love. Thus the truth makes man free. To do as one pleases is not an independent expression of one's ability. Freedom is a mutual exchange of power and quality of life with the values of life. Freedom gives to many life's desirable values based on moral ideals in practical application. It is freedom that makes them ethical values and moral ideals. There can be no valid concept of freedom without its use for moral results; on the other hand, there is no justification for morals and thoughts without the use of freedom.
At times, conflict arises in the heart of a person, even in the heart of a generation, pertaining to higher values of life. This is especially true in reference to what a person believes in and what one knows. Is there a cause that has been justified by experience and learning that resolves this question on the higher values of life? Why is there a conflict between knowledge and faith? Is religion, in relation to our vast knowledge, an unapproachable entity which offers nothing? Nonetheless, despite these questions, people constantly debate the cause of something beyond their reach. One may not know certain principles of thinking necessary for an investigation of thoughts, which leaves one prey to blind-minded, intellectual persons.
TRUE GENUINE FREEDOM
The question arises then, where can true genuine freedom be found despite its limits and bounds in society? The simple answer to this question is — in Christianity. As simple as this is, it will sound incredible to the majority of the people. Christianity sets one free from the enslavements and superstitions created through ignorance. This is stated very clearly and simply by Jesus Christ: "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciple, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (Jn. 8:31-32). This, of course, depends on one's own .personal decision whether or not to accept the teachings of the Gospel of Christ, for only then is one free. This personal decision as the norm of life means that one becomes a disciple, living by the commandments and ideals of Christianity.
As a disciple and member of the Orthodox Church of Christ, one becomes free of the superstitions, ignorance and entanglements which overshadow society. There exists a struggle between truth and superstition, light and darkness, good and evil. This condition demands a keen knowledge and understanding of the "word" of Christ, based on zeal and devotion. This in itself makes one's mind free from corrupting influences. However, the Christian who does not know nor obey the "word" of Christ nor practice the commandments becomes prey for a net of evil forces and influences.
The principles and standards of Christianity are not limitations and boundaries of freedom, but protect one's freedom. These principles work within the Christian to protect him from the innate human tendency toward evil and sin. The truth of Christianity is the working power in the Christian to create the freedom needed for one's own happiness. When one does not have the truth working in him, the principles and commandments of God appear as limitations on his life. The Christian who believes in Christ and His Gospel avoids these wrongdoings and evil with much satisfaction and happiness. This Christian limits himself from these bad influences through freedom, by free choice. As an example, a Christian who gives money to a charity rather than using it for his personal pleasure has limited himself. This limit brings great satisfaction in the knowledge of having done good for someone less fortunate. In this sense, the Christian does not feel it as a limitation.
Freedom which is genuine has its roots in absolute Truth, the Truth which Jesus Christ and His Apostles proclaimed and practiced. It is truth stemming from the roots of the thoughts, feelings and activities of the Christian; it is the truth which can even be identified with the Person of Christ as Self-Truth. It relates to the cause of genuine freedom which the Christian breathes and lives. In reality the more such freedom, the more one is obedient to the Lord and His Gospel. The truth which will -make one free presupposes the Christian who constantly nourishes oneself in the word of God, and becomes truly a disciple of Christ to be able to grasp the knowledge of the truth. Obedience was the virtue which God demanded from the free will of Adam.
As such, obedience to God is a freedom from enslavement to environment, especially from enslavement to evil spirits. Such an obedience is the armor of the Christian soldier, who protects himself from evil influences which reaches him directly or through other persons. Such an obedience plainly is not a static virtue; it has no value without a trail through the arena of struggle. This kind of obedience, which is the essence of freedom, refers to the Person of Christ: "so if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (Jn. 8:36). This freedom presupposes constant renewal and knowledge of the boundaries by which it is determined. Constant care of genuine freedom is necessary because powers of the physical and spiritual world are ready to resume the struggle when the Christian is not alert.
Thus the truth will make you free. What freedom one needs and seeks has divine origin in human terms. The "word" of God is the beginning toward this freedom. It is man's constant source of divine enlightenment; it has a personal element; it is not merely a novelty full of imagination. The "word" is a kind of instruction from a teacher to a pupil; a kind of father's care for son; a kind of guidance from leader to disciple. Freedom then comes as a natural result of the "word", which pronounces its recipient truly a disciple of Christ. The "word" is the only way to acquire the absolute Truth. This Truth has a peaceful effect in the heart and mind of the disciple. This Truth opens a new avenue in life, a miracle of rebirth, a transformation. This Truth makes you "free". The Truth here is not merely the opposite of falsehood: it is above and beyond the "don'ts"; it is spiritual transformation of the whole man, as his spirit, mind, volition and being are in the process of change to another entity. The Truth can change the nature of every person.
It is this Truth which enables people to turn their whole attitude toward a new life, here and in the hereafter. One is liberated from the captivities that previously enslaved him. This Truth of God has the power to "make you free. " The word "make" was used by Christ, meaning a changing of the very nature of the willing person whose desire is sincere and thoughtful. This change brings about a regeneration, a liberty from the bondage of sin. The change of the character of man means to be free from sin, from any evil-doing and intention; it is not a freedom for sin. Freedom then is the quality of one's social and personal life and daily living when set free by Christ Himself from human bondage. Freedom in the Gospel of Christ is understood as the relationship of man to God, not as one becoming a "master of himself."
THE DESTINY OF FREEDOM IS LOVE
Since the Truth is the cause of freedom, what then is its ultimate fate? Since "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, " everyone is in the bondage of sin (Rom. 3:23). The human cannot regain the freedom he lost in Paradise by searching his environment. This freedom can be restored only by God Himself. The Liberator in the Person of Christ was sent by God to "condemn sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). Thus Christ brought the nature of humanity to its divine purpose. Christ proclaimed freedom to the captives of sin and death to those who trust in Christ: "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1). Those who are captive to sin are freed from this bondage not because they justify themselves and purchase their freedom, but because of Christ, Who is their justification and ransom. People are freed from bondage and death, because "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). Freedom in Christianity does not mean total independence, but a willing "slavery" to God, "having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness" (6:18).
The Christian is called to freedom not as an opportunity to exploit the flesh through lust. He is asked to love and be a servant to others, because the law and the prophets depend on one principle: "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself " (Gal. 5:13-14). The Christian is nourished by this commandment in the word and grace of God. The Christian freed by Christ practices the commandments of God by participating in sanctification, being freed from sin, and purified through baptism and full communion with Him.
Therefore, the love of neighbor is the ultimate principle of freedom. This is the destiny of true, genuine freedom that people have always sought. In Christianity the individual is provided with this divine gift that "makes him free" and obedient to God's "word." "Live as free men . . . live as servants of God" (1 Peter 2:16).
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DISCLAIMER NOTICE: The views expressed at this website regarding any article not directly connected to religious content is the opinion or commentary of the author which we may not necessarily believe in, accept or support, and some religious articles we may not accept or support either. We take no responsibility or liability for the content of any news item or article presented as any information provided which you rely upon requires that you, the reader/viewer, take action to verify its worthiness on your own. We have deduced to a minor degree, that the information provided by the author is such that warrants posting for you the viewer/reader only... and that any statements or purported facts, including any news item, is for you to verify as to its authenticity. We take no liability and no responsibility for its accuracy whatsoever! You who are new visitors, may wish to read a very short article below entitled "The purpose for presenting our Daily News section" Sadly to say, we take no pleasure in stating that some of the items we post are not from what we would call true "Christian" organizations. But we post it because it provides another side of the proverbial story. The Church, after all, is supposed to be a temple for sick souls (sinners) without distinction between their worse sins or otherwise, but it seems to some organizations that they say much about others, but fail and refuse to upbraid themselves and their members for their own sins...)
"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."
- Blessed St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco
The purpose for presenting this Daily News section:
Daily News is very important to those who are true Orthodox Catholic Christians. For without knowing or gaining information for understanding about what is happening in one's local area and around the world, you could find yourself faced with denied services in the secular area, lack of income, even (although it sounds far-fetched) ability to worship openly for the time is not far off when all will have to decide if they wish to follow the Anti-Christ through the One World Church and One World Government as prophesied by the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation of St. John or follow the faith delivered once and for all which will cause for many to be denied the abilities to survive under those kind of conditions, causing for one to consider other options.
Many of those who subscribe to, and some who have caused or are the cause for, these things to happen are involved in or with the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church (which is not the seat of all things "Catholic") as well as its protestant daughters such as the cultic Jehovah's Witnesses, the Pentecostal Churches, the Church of Latter Day Saints also known as the Mormon Church and far too many more to list.
Yet, at this web site we do provide some of the reasons about why they are opined to be the harbingers of that which is prophesied in Holy Scripture for the bringing about of the End Times which we have already entered. It is not necessarily their individual members or parishioners that should be blamed since they are only the "Sheep" and not the Shepherds... So do not think we castigate individual people of themselves as we castigate those "money changers" who Jesus Christ chased out of His Father's House as the Bible Describes; for they exist in these present times too.
Events are already rushing toward that time in which this is beginning to happen and will become more fully wide-spread. In these present times all you need to really do is look around both your local and larger areas as to what is really on-going through. Things so very little or miniscule that they are barely noticeable except to the more informed observer may become apparent.
Those little things are the laws of the land, economics, politics, the degrading and erosion of those rights and liberties afforded by the Constitution of these United States of America and many other things such as the manner with which entertainments have taken over much of the populace, entering into and becoming a major focus in worship, and more.
We ask you, if you don't want to believe us... Have you heard, seen or found what is termed (of the many terms being used) that there are "holding areas" or "camps" or "Closed/Fenced communities" being built by GOVERNMENT?
Here in North America, especially in the United States of America, we must admit that what Russia has come out of (a communistic, atheist country) we are entering into. And one last thing that needs also to be understood... Something very important to those of you who are "Catholic" in the Roman sense of its jurisdiction.... And, we believe this also holds true for many who are "Orthodox" whether "Eastern" or "Western"....
[ * Non-Denominational = Synchrestic Ecumenism, Disease of Scholasticism, altering the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ to accommodate the disease of Political Correctness and CULTIC PROTESTANTISM, and the Roman Jurisdiction (Latin Church = Vatican) of the Catholic Church) breaking of - or failure and refusal to respect and abide by - the ancient Seven Ecumenical "Do Not" Canons which leaves everything else open to God's gift of creativity... failure & refusal to abide by and have respect for those who diligently protect one of the other Pillars of the Church, the Seals of the Confessional, but "Non-Denominational" also includes worshiping Satan's religion of Muslim, Islam by praying with them and other heretics such as 'Pentecostalism,' 'Jehovah's Witnesses,' 'Mormons,' 'Church of Christ,' any so-called church with "Community Church" in their nomenclature and others who by their false and misleading dogmas and doctrines are actually against the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ upon whom and for exacting reason we are called "Christian" in both spirit and truth from which non-denominational protestant sectarian claimants have departed from as being so-called Christian] Only a skilled spiritual father can help you!
Remember: You cannot ride two horses or serve two masters for one of them will be harmed by your thoughts, your very words and your actions which is to blaspheme the Holy Ghost (Spirit) who will depart from you. And when the Holy Spirit departs, the great deceiver (unbeknownst to you) will rush in to fill the void under disguise of being the Holy Spirit! Testing of the Holy Spirit to insure it is the Holy Spirit does not, for many a Sectarian Protestant and Roman, work because the Great Deceiver (Satan) is most skilled in worming and snaking his charms around your mind and heart to feign being the Holy Spirit. Remember, Satan has the same gifts similar to the Holy Spirit but Satan's gifts are UN-HOLY and lead all who accept him (unbeknownst to you) to perdition.
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"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."
- Blessed St. +John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco
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