So there we have it!!
We have been given an INTELLECT so we can know the good
We can know the true
We can know the beautiful
We have also been given this WILL
Because we are rational beings with wills, we have POWER
We have the capacity to CHOOSE
We have FREEDOM
Paragraph 1731 says, “Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility.”
We can make it simpler
Freedom is not simply the ability to do whatever you want, but freedom is the power to do what is right
Freedom is the power to do what you ought
THAT IS TRUE FREEDOM!!
Paragraph 1731 continues, “By free will one shapes one’s own life.”
Fr. Mike heard this quote, “The child is the father of the man.”
Who we choose to be earlier on in life is who we ultimately end up becoming later in life
Paragraph 1731 continues, “Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.”
If one of God’s gifts for us is freedom, the ability to choose right or wrong, then what happens in Heaven?
Can you still sin in Heaven?
And if you can’t sin in Heaven, doesn’t that mean you are no longer free in Heaven?
There is sin on Earth because we have the capacity to either say YES or NO to God
So in Heaven, are we not free anymore? 🤔
Paragraph 1732 says, “As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.”
There is not that possibility in Heaven
Does that mean we don’t have freedom? 🤔
IT MEANS OUR FREEDOM HAS BEEN PERFECTED!!
If we bind ourselves definitively to God, that is HEAVEN
In Heaven, we have PERFECT FREEDOM
Remember, freedom is not the ABILITY to do whatever I want
Freedom is the POWER to do what I ought
To actually have the capacity to say, “That is the good, and I get to choose it. And I choose it every time.”
To know right and wrong and to say, “I choose the right every single time.”
THAT IS TRUE FREEDOM!!
Paragraph 1733 says, “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin.’”
So in Heaven, we are COMPLETELY FREE
In Heaven, we become even more free and even more joyful
In Heaven there is no sin
We are completely free to be constantly choosing God, the True, the good, and the beautiful
To love each other and to love the Lord as we are supposed to
To not do that OCCASIONALLY but to do that PERPETUALLY rooted deeply in true choice
Because we have FREEDOM we have RESPONSIBILITY
Paragraph 1734 says, “Freedom makes man responsible for his acts to the extent that they are voluntary. Progress in virtue, knowledge of the good, and ascesis enhance the mastery of the will over its acts.”
Responsibility (other words are culpability or imputability) for an action can be diminished or even nullified if there are things like ignorance
Inadvertence like I did not mean to do this
Duress is a thing that can affect culpability
Sometimes there are things that we do out of fear or even habit
Even inordinate attachments or other psychological or social factors reduce culpability
Paragraph 1735 says, “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments and other psychological or social factors.”
Paragraph 1736 says, “Every act directly willed is imputable to its author…”
Every act directly willed, we are culpable for
We are RESPONSIBLE for those actions
What is sin?
Sin is, “God, I know what you want me to do. I don’t care. I’m going to do what I want to do.”
So in order to sin, I have to have knowledge that this is a sin AND I have to have freedom to be able to not choose it
We have the INTELLECT
We have the KNOWLEDGE
We have the WILL
So if we have FULL KNOWLEDGE and FREE WILL and they can be diminished or nullified because we did not know or did not mean to do this
Paragraph 1736 continues, “An action can be indirectly voluntary when it results from negligence regarding something one should have known or done: for example, an accident arising from ignorance of traffic laws.”
If you are driving, you should know the laws of the road
If you are driving, it is your job to pay attention
So if there is an accident, it is indirectly voluntary because you should have been paying attention
In order for a person to be responsible for their actions, they have to have KNOWLEDGE and WILL
They have to KNOW it and CHOOSE it
Paragraph 1737 says, “A bad effect is not imputable if it was not willed either as an end or as a means of an action, e.g., a death a person incurs in aiding someone in danger. For a bad effect to be imputable it must be foreseeable and the agent must have the possibility of avoiding it, as in the case of manslaughter caused by a drunken driver.”
Imagine you are trying to help someone and you die in the process
That is not a suicide
You were trying to help
And in the process, you died
For a bad effect to be IMPUTABLE it must be FORESEEABLE and the person choosing must have the POSSIBILITY OF AVOIDING IT
The example given is the case of manslaughter caused by a drunken driver
In the moment of drunkenness and driving, I did not want to hurt anybody
The moment I picked up the alcohol, I’m opening myself up to the moment AFTER drinking
Now I am driving
That is FORESEEABLE and that is PREVENTABLE as well
KEEP THESE TWO THINGS IN MIND…
These are like the two hinges the door swings on
In order for someone to be CULPABLE they need to have KNOWLEDGE and FREE WILL
I need to KNOW the thing and I need to FREELY CHOOSE to do the thing
For both the praise and the blame…
For both the merit or the reproach…
For both the good and the bad…
I need to KNOW and I need to CHOOSE
In freedom and responsibility, when we are doing our examinations of conscience we need to ask the questions: “Did I know it or should I have known it? Did I choose it or were there other factors moving me and I did not choose this freely?”
This is part of what we do every day when we examine our conscience
“Ok, if I did this thing rightly or wrongly, I chose good or I chose evil, did I know and did I freely choose?”
If we are going to exercise our FREEDOM, we also have to be willing to take RESPONSIBILITY
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!