Freedom in Christ

‘If you remain in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  

Friends in the Lord,  True freedom is freedom in Christ. What does this mean?  Well, it doesn’t mean what the popular culture means by freedom.  Many think that freedom is doing whatever you want.  Money makes me free, so I can buy what I want and do what I want.  Contraception makes me free, so that I can indulge myself anyway and anytime I want.  The list goes on: today, the idea of freedom is what used to be called license.   

Freedom embraces responsibility and is guided by virtue; license is choice without restraint. License is the throwing off of all responsibility.  It is a carte blanche to do as we feel.  Therefore, it is incompatible with virtue.  License leads to absurd and dangerous action.  On the personal level, license leads to moral chaos.  If my actions are based merely on whim or the impulse of the moment, they are completely unpredictable, even to myself.  On the social level, license leads to anarchy —  the lack of all dedication to the common good.   

Following our own whims and desires is not freedom, and we can even see how this destroys lives.  Jesus says: ‘If you remain in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Sin is slavery, it is a bondage, says the Lord. Freedom in Christ is true freedom.   

Recently, the Holy Father asked: ‘What exactly is Christian freedom?’ Well, doing what you want and not what God wants –  this is a sin, he says – a sin of idolatry.   “Christian freedom is to discern what the Spirit is doing in my heart, what the Holy Spirit wants, where the Spirit is taking me. And to obey. To discern God’s will, and then obey.”     
True freedom does not look only inward, to our own interests, but acts for the good of others as well; acting in true freedom builds a peaceful community, selfish, me-first freedom tears down community.  

Pope John Paul II said that freedom in Christ  is not the freedom to do what we want,  it is freedom to do what we ought.  This is the freedom that builds up the City of God.  

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