Religious…Lovers of True Freedom

In India, our former “people’s” President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, died on July 27th when he was addressing the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. Collapsing on the stage in the middle of his speech due to cardiac arrest, he died and left us his heart and vision. He was an ‘Inspirational Leader’ known for his warmth and humility as well as his simple, special love for children and youth. He spoke on leadership and said “let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid to defeat any problem. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.” The entire nation mourned and paid their last respects to him because of the loss of a great man who worked constantly for peace, harmony, religious freedom and the dignity of all human beings.
What lies behind every religious person? We all have our religious vows but do we have an ardent love for the person of Jesus Christ and His kingdom? Today, in our living context, surrendering oneself and dedicating oneself wholeheartedly is becoming very difficult. Jesus says, “leave everything and follow me,” and only this burning love for Him can sustain our religious vocation, but we are with many driving forces like possessions, attachments, attitudes, and lifestyles; clearly in contradiction with our public commitment.
What is the source of Jesus’ freedom? None other than ‘evangelical values;’ His genuine freedom from responsibility, who fought against the routine of ritualism, and his strong belief in the unconditional love of the Father.
The principle of freedom, as St. Paul says to the Corinthians, “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Henceforth, through our religious commitment, we experience freedom, values and priorities because freedom is for service.
As we rejoice with the celebration of the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who had a freedom to love God and liberate people with a pure heart, may she be our model of true freedom and protect and promote inter-religious harmony and universal brotherhood!
Fr. Soosai Rathinam

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