Reflections of God's Goodness
“Let freedom ring!” These words from a popular patriotic song remind us that freedom is an American value and central to the identity of our country.
Many believe that freedom is the “right” to do whatever we want! Has the meaning of freedom changed? The dictionary says freedom is “exemption from external controls” or the “power to determine action without restraint.” But if this is indeed freedom, then how do we live together? Not everyone can have their own way!
Spiritual writers have a different view of freedom. In the letter to the Galatians, St. Paul tells the people,
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself.
As we think about our relationships, our friendships, we realize how important this gift of freedom is. As St. John Paul II wrote:
Love consists of a commitment which limits one’s freedom — it is a giving of the self, and to give oneself means just that: to limit one’s freedom on behalf of another.
Freedom is to be open to God’s grace, to be free to love. God’s grace according to Karl Rahner, not only means help in fulfilling tasks and duties, but grace to live a Godly life. Grace is God’s love in action through us.
“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” (St. John Paul II) Freedom in the spiritual sense is freedom from a self-centered way of life—we are free to grow to be more God-like in our relationships “…Merciful and gracious, slow to anger, rich in kindness and fidelity.” Exodus 34
So in many ways, freedom is a choice born out of our faith in the good God and modeled by Jesus as He taught us to love, to choose the other person over our own needs and wants. These same characteristics can mark our relationships with one another…grace, giving oneself, choosing the right, forgiving, bearing with one another.
May the freedom of Jesus be yours today and always.
Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development
So, if the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed.