Lord, teach us to pray: “Our Father…”
The Reading(To be read by the Leader)
My dear Brother Knights, as I write this, masks are still mandatory, but we are hoping that at the beginning of March all restrictions will be lifted, here in Alberta. Many other provinces are on a similar timeline, for moving back into what we hope will be the way of life we have been accustomed, for most of our lives. The beauty of our faith is that we live in hope. In challenging times, we are comforted by St. Paul’s encouragement; “We walk by faith and not by sight, (2 Cor. 5, 7).”
The end of January and most of the month of February inundated us with the word freedom. Often the term freedom was used as a preface for the many convoys that occurred in our country and in our Province. We know these “Freedom convoys” were a response to the existing restrictions that have been put in place by our Federal and Provincial Government as well as Alberta Health Services regarding Covid protocols. As we listened to the dialogue between the players, protesters, and counter-protesters alike, the meaning of the term freedom may have become somewhat convoluted. I offer this, because in the secular world there are some clear definitions of Freedom. “Sometimes it refers to physical freedom, the lack of physical restraints on human behavior. Freedom also refers to liberty; the lack of constraints placed by an authority upon someone’s actions. As well, freedom refers to political freedom, the ability of a citizen to participate in political affairs or of a nation to direct its own political affairs. (Sunday Visitor, Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine, p. 241).” These types of freedom are not what the Catechism of the Catholic Church is referring to in stating the following: “Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains it perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude, (CCC 1731). The freedom that you and I enjoy is the gift of free will. Our free will and the actions that we take, based on our God-given free will, shape the lives we live in the world. The natural outcome of the choices we make here in the world should always point to our ultimate purpose, and that is to spend eternity in the presence of our Creator.
“Freedom is exercised in relationships between human beings. Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order, (CCC 1738).” What does this statement mean to you and me on a daily basis? Each of us, God’s children, have an intrinsic God-given right to be treated with dignity and respect. This is inherent to the dignity of the human person. So, just as you and I have the right to be to be treated with dignity and respect, so does our neighbor have that same inherent right. I hope, we can, agree on this premise.
The Reflection(To be read by the Leader)
For myself, the real question at hand is this. Does my natural God-given freedom allow me to make choices that will diminish the God-given dignity and respect I owe my sister or Brother, no matter how right I may be? I go back to the last line from the Catechism in 1738. “This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order.” The Common Good is my point in all of this. I do have God-given freedom and I am entitled to be treated with dignity as a child of God. But where does my freedom end when it impinges upon another child of God’s freedom. Brothers I am a realist. I agree that sometimes we need to stand up and be counted for what we believe to be important. Do we have the right to exercise our freedom when it restricts the freedom and the dignity of others? I also realize this is a complicated question about a multi-faceted issue. Let us remember that when the Freedom Convoy began it was in protest to the vaccination requirements for cross boarder truckers. This was the issue that the truckers protested. However, several other parties got involved in this affair and in essence, stole the narrative and made it about the government and all Covid related protocols.
The voice of the original protesters was drowned out by louder voices that did not care whose freedom they restricted, as long as they could make sure their agenda was on the table. My dear Brothers. It does not matter what side of the discussion you find yourselves on. At the end of the day as men of faith and men who respect our own God-given freedom and dignity, we need to have the “Common Good” at the forefront of our deliberations. If we focus on the freedom and the inherent dignity of our sisters and Brothers, our formed consciences and free will decisions, will lead us to informed decisions and actions.
The Truth will set you free, (Jn. 8, 32)
(The Leader now invites the members to spend a few moments in silent reflection, as the above text is not meant to be a ready-made answer but a starter for personal reflection on the theme.)
Fraternal Sharing(The leader now invites the members to share with their Brother Knights any relevant thoughts that came to them during the meditation period.)
Closing Prayer(Recited by all)
Let us pray:“Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.