It is that time of the year when we think about fireworks, fireflies, and fun filled summer evenings. Freedom is another topic that is discussed often. Freedom to me has always meant that I was not physically restrained from life. I am not a prisoner in this world. Then I began to think what does freedom truly mean to me from a Catholic perspective?Do you know the real definition of freedom? According to Merriam-Webster the definition is: the quality or state of being free: such as
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence
The first definition hit me with a new understanding when you look at it from a Catholic perspective. We chose to believe in God with an absence of coercion or contraint in choice. The second definition states a liberation of slavery or restraint from the power of another. God has liberated us from the slavery of sin. With this definition, we have the beginnings of how God wants us to live freely. The rest of the advice comes from the Saints and other faithful people he sent to help teach us what is best.
Father Walter Ciszek S.J. said,
“The fullest freedom I had ever known, the greatest sense of security, came from abandoning my will to do only the will of God.”
This priest is known as the priest who died three times. He had been to a Soviet prison and endurred much through his life. If throughout his life he found true freedom through chains and spiritual surrender, I believe we all have a chance of finding this freedom too.
Blessed Pope John Paul II has had several famous quotes about Freedom including
True freedom is born of holiness
Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought
Blessed Pope John Paul II is known for many more quotes about freedom too but if these two simple statements don’t illustrate the importance of faith and God to be free, I don’t know what else will. Blessed Pope John Paul II and his wisdom has been shared over the years and it has become increasingly known that his spiritual insights are heartfelt and deeply spiritual.
These sentiments are reiterated from older saints too. Saint Francis de Sales stated,
We have freedom to do good or evil; yet to make choice of evil, is not to use, but to abuse our freedom.
and Saint Augustine said,
“He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.”
Everything culminates in advice leading us to be faithful and allow freedom to find us through our relationship with God. But it also reminds us that with our freedom comes with the choice to do wrong and to lose our freedom and return to the chains of sin. Through this month take the time to examin your freedom. Your spiritual freedom, physical freedom and mental freedom all coincide. Examin them individually and together and find your clearest path to true freedom with God.