Freedom and Independence

“If you trace the word “free” back to its ancient Indo-European roots, you arrive at the root word “pri” – “to love.” The family of words of which “fee”(did you mean “free”?) is a part includes “friend.” In early English, “free” implied a relationship, meaning someone who was “dear to the chief” and who fought for his chief out of voluntary allegiance and love, not for money or out of fear. The free man was neither a conscript nor a mercenary. The free person is not our current western image of the solitary cowboy on his horse in a desert “free” of all familial ties and social responsibilities. Understood in the light of the New Testament, to be free means that your ties are freely chosen because of your love for those people to whom you give allegiance. Genuine freedom implies sacrifice and submission undergirded by love.  (Jim Forest Praying with Icons, pg. 118)

By this definition of freedom – sacrifice and submission undergirded by love – we can see in Christ’s own family examplary lives of freedom.  Joseph freely submits his life and doubts to God (Matthew 1:18-24).  The Virgin mary does the same (Luke 1:26-38).   As for Jesus, St. Paul writes:

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name…” (Philippians 2:5-9)