At Christmas we celebrate Jesus' coming into a pagan world to show all of us how to live and to redeem us through his death on the cross. As Christians, it is our duty to carry on this redemptive work through our words, deeds and joy. This is the subject of the following Christmas editorial, written by our founder, Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., and published in the December, 1993, Homiletic and Pastoral Review.
God is the Source of Freedom
by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.
During the month of December we celebrate the season of Advent and the great feast of Christmas. Christmas is a time of personal and familial joy because we commemorate the coming of God into the world in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. For those of us who believe in Christ and rejoice in his coming, there is a focus and purpose for our whole existence. Our Christian faith tells us that God loves us, that he created each of us individually, and that he has destined us for eternal happiness with him in heaven if we return his love.
"If you love me, keep my commandments," Jesus tells us in the Gospel of St. John. Since we live in a covenant relationship with the Lord, in order to fulfill our part of the bargain we must abide by God's law. That law is very clear since it is expressed in the Ten Commandments and summarized in the Great Commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. Those who live according to that law will find a basic happiness and contentment in this live, and life everlasting in the next world.
The modern world began about 500 years ago with the Renaissance when Western intellectuals began to move away from Christianity and the Church. What they wanted to do was to liberate themselves from God. It was a type of revolt against God which involved elevating man to the place of God. Gradually the idea became common that man could solve all his problems by reason alone, without the help of God and revelation.
Many thinkers like Solzhenitsyn, Dostoyevsky, Eric Voegelin and Paul Johnson have pointed out that the roots of the modern ideologies that lead to totalitarianism and the dehumanization of man are to be found right here in this idea of the revolt against God. This is the source of positivism, utilitarianism, hedonism, fascism, National Socialism, and communism in our recent past; it is also the source of the newer ideologies of feminism, abortionism and environmentalism. Not to be excluded from this list is the currently popular "liberal democracy," which is the ideology behind our own government and the other Western democracies. What they all have in common is the belief that man can be good and virtuous without God, without belief in transcendent Truth. According to them, man is the measure of all things, can produce order in the world, and can provide for the happiness and contentment of most human beings. This belief has given us the 20th century horrors of fascism, Nazism and communism.
Many were scandalized at Solzhenitsyn when, in his Harvard address some years ago (1978) he equated liberalism with communism in that both lack a spiritual foundation. For, if man's dignity and rights do not come from a transcendent God, then they are postulated by man and can be changed or abolished by man. If there is no difference between good and evil, and man cannot perceive that difference, then everything is permitted. This is exactly what we have in our public schools where children are taught how to fornicate, how to commit sodomy, and how to put on a condom. This is an explicit admission on the part of adults who, presumably, know more than the children, that there is no difference between right and wrong. The only thing left is ideology or what is "politically correct," and that is determined by the strong. So in the Dred Scott decision black people were declared to be possessions to be used as one saw fit; in Roe v. Wade preborn children were declared to be nonpersons and so can be killed at will.
In this country right now, as God and religion are pushed out of the public square into the privacy of one's basement, our government is usurping the place of God and moving rapidly toward some sort of liberal totalitarianism. We all sense that we are less free now than we were forty years ago. Let us pray for men of faith and courage in public life who will work for the restoration of the public recognition of the absolute importance of morality and religion in public life. For if God goes, our freedom and dignity go with him.
At St. Michael Broadcasting we seek to evangelize the culture by showing that only by living by His laws will we find "basic happiness and contentment in this life, and life everlasting in the next." By learning our faith, we are better equipped to bring the joy of Christmas to others. Please consider making one of your Christmas gifts this year a kind word about, a prayer for, or a financial contribution to St. Michael Broadcasting.
Tidings of comfort and joy, from all of us volunteers to you this Christmas season. Thank you for your support of the station over the past year.