UP Catholic E Edition Page 5

I n the United States, don't we tend to take freedom and liberty for granted? Do we realize what freedom and lib- erty are? Sometimes I don't think we do. I saw freedom a few weeks ago. Not in the abstract but in re- ality. A great horned owl was re- leased back into the wilderness and I thought, "Now it can be what God made it to be and can do what God made it to do." This, I think, is true freedom. In the Loyola University chapel one July 2 (then the Feast of the Visitation) the homilist said that Mary was the most free person in the world. There was nothing in her or outside of her that kept her from choosing the highest good as God saw it. In the book (and film) "The Shoes of the Fisherman," an early scene depicts the hero, who will become the pope, as he is re- leased from a Soviet prison camp. The guard tells him that he is free now. He answered, "I have always been free. It is only my body that you have impris- oned." In Morning Prayer we pray with Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free free from the hands of all who hate us free from the hands of our enemies free to worship him without fear." (Lk 1) This freedom is a great gift and treasure. Realistically we know that, however much we may think we are free, there are those traits and habits that keep us from choos- ing the best, most perfect re- sponse to God. These obstacles may be very large or very small but they can have the same ef- fect. Someone has said that it doesn't matter if you tie a bird's leg with a chain or a thread it still cannot fly. So it is with those things within that limit true freedom. Freedom is not to be con- fused with free will. The rich young man could have chosen to accept Jesus' invitation to follow him, but his goods and riches kept him from making the decision to follow. He had outer but not inner freedom. No matter what limits us from within we are still able to make moral and prudential choices. Even Mary had free will and could have chosen poorly. How- ever, her inner freedom would have protected her. We are al- ways in between good and not- so-good choices but that does not mean we cannot try to achieve a great measure of the freedom God intends us to have. That is why we must often ex- amine our motivations, asking if the choices we have made are making us more like God in- tended for us to be. Have we made the most loving choices, done the most loving act? So, we take time to be still, to listen as the Holy Spirit gives us the direction that we need. Let us not be like the child who told Jesus that he could have any- thing the child had, except "my white rabbit." Lord Jesus, teach us to be- come daily more free to give you our entire selves. Amen. THE U.P. CATHOLIC FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 PAGE 5 Marquette Neil Newcomb 906-225-0191 1400 Wright Street Escanaba Dale Stannard 906-786-4685 Hwy. M-35 November 1, 2015 their home parish or mission. To make a pledge or payment online, visit www.dioceseof- marquette.org/upcsa and click on "Donate Now." To learn about other dioce- san ministries with online giv- ing options, click the "Online Giving" button at the top right of most www.dioceseofmar- quette.org webpages. The budget is "basically sta- ble," according to Tim Thomas, executive director of finance and administration. He noted that some sources of funding for the diocese, such as grants, have dropped this year. See the annual budget and UPCSA goals, which are also on page 4. Among the areas that had decreases in expenses are edu- cation of priests, education of seminarians and the vocations office. This past year, Bishop John Doerfler ordained three seminarians as priests for the diocese, resulting in a drop in seminarians in more expensive advanced studies. The office of communica- tions and website budgets saw a drop as the diocesan communi- cations director duties were added to the diocesan newspa- per editor and website adminis- trator role. However, The U.P. Catholic newspaper subsidy, which is funded through dioce- san investment income, re- quired an increase with the expected loss of $15,000 in out- side grants. A part-time posi- tion was also increased to full-time due to restructuring the office. Areas with increases include the marriage tribunal and devel- opment offices. At the begin- ning of 2015, Bishop Doerfler waived all fees for the marriage tribunal to make that ministry more easily available to those who have had a civil divorce. The development office is offer- ing more support to parishes and missions bringing about an increase. For more information about the annual appeal, contact Terri Gadzinski, director of develop- ment, at tgadzinski@dioceseof- marquette.org or (906) 227-9108 or Wendy Negri, UPCSA coordinator, at wne- gri@dioceseofmarquette.org or (906) 227-9104. UPCSA FROM P4 COLUMN REFLECTIONS FROM NORTHSTAR Regis Walling By his cross and resurrection Jesus has set us free Find us on facebook! Visit www.facebook.com/ theupcatholic

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