Make the Most of Your Freedom
The story of creation makes clear that it is not good for us to be alone. God made us for love, and so we were made to live with others.
Yet no earthly love will ever fully satisfy us. Friendship and romance are wonderful experiences, but they’re not enough.
We were made to give ourselves entirely. And we were made to give ourselves freely.
Freedom is the most necessary condition of our calling. God wants our love. God wants us to respond to the love that created us. But love can never be forced. Love can never be coerced. Love needs to be given freely, or it’s not love.
People today have many strange and unworkable ideas about freedom. They think that freedom means doing whatever we want, whenever we want, spontaneously. The problem is that we sometimes make mistakes. We’re sometimes wrong. We make errors in judgment. Our instincts sometimes fail us. And if we act impulsively, our actions can bring on unintended consequences. Those consequences, in turn, can limit our future freedom — and even become something of a prison.
True freedom comes when we are as free from our faulty impulses as we are from outside pressures.
True freedom comes when we follow the way of Jesus, the way of Mary, the way of the prophets and saints.
The path to freedom is a path of virtue. The way of Jesus teaches us to choose love consistently — and choose love freely — in the form of voluntary poverty, voluntary chastity, and voluntary obedience.
Some people look at these conditions as “restrictions.” But they’re not. When we give up our attachment to money and possessions, we’re no longer afraid about losing what we have. We’re more free than we were before. When we love other people freely and rightly, without worrying about their expectations, we know greater freedom than any earthly lovers know in their frenzied abandon. When we choose to obey because we truly love the one who commands, we’re acting more freely than those who impulsively rebel against every authority.
If you read the sonnets of William Shakespeare or Elizabeth Browning, you’ll soon recognize the freedom that comes with a form. In freely accepting their limits, the poets set themselves a creative challenge, and then they turned it into something sublime. And what’s true in poetry is truer in life.
As the old song says: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. But that’s only true if we freely accept that detachment.
Finding your vocation means letting go of the things that are inessential to life in its fullness. It means letting go of the things that hold us back, weigh us down, distract us, and divert us from the path.
Put your freedom into practice. Try giving up something for God’s sake. See how much more freedom you gain.
And please get in touch with us! Let’s talk about the ways you can be still more free with every day of your life.