So there we have it!!
I hope you are encouraging as much encouragement and consolation, as well as conviction, as Fr. Mike is in reading these words
IT IS JUST SO INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 1739 says, “Freedom and sin. Man’s freedom is limited and fallible.”
What are some of the consequences of the Fall?
DARKENING OF THE INTELLECT
So we can know, but we don’t know fully
WEAKENING OF THE WILL
We can choose, but we do not always choose with strength
We can love, but we do not always love the right things
We do not always love the right way
We are often tempted to USE instead of love
We can use our freedom for the wrong thing
Sometimes our freedom is not strong enough to do what we want it to do
Paragraph 1739 continues, “In fact, man failed. He freely sinned. By refusing God’s plan of love, he deceived himself and became a slave to sin.”
This is Genesis Ch 3, the story of our ancestors
And this is OUR OWN STORY
We can blame Adam and Eve and their choice
We can look at ourselves and say, “Ok. I’ve also done that. I’ve also made myself a slave to sin. As often as I’ve chosen sin, I’ve done that to myself. I’ve done to myself what Adam and Eve did to the human race.”
And so, we failed
THAT IS JUST SOBERING!!
Hopefully it is ENCOURAGING as well
It’s one thing to hear, “There is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect just the way you are.”
And we look at ourselves and say, “Really? I am? I’m not sure that’s true. And if I’m perfect just the way I am, there’s nothing wrong with me, then there is something wrong with the rest of the world.”
To be able to hear those encouraging words of MAN FAILED
WE FREELY SINNED
And by doing that, we DECEIVED OURSELVES and became SLAVES TO SIN
That is our original parents and that is ourselves as well
Paragraph 1739 continues, “From its outset, human history attests the wretchedness and oppression born of the human heart in consequence of the abuse of freedom.”
This does not mean that we are wretched by nature
NOT AT ALL!!
By our nature, we are still good
We still retain God’s image
That image has been marred
That image has been broken
That image has become twisted
Our hearts are still good
That freedom that we still have has become damaged and is now a freedom that has been wounded
Paragraph 1740 says, “Threats to freedom. The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything. It is false to maintain that man, ‘the subject of this freedom,’ is ‘an individual who is fully self-sufficient and whose finality is the satisfaction of his own interests in the enjoyment of earthly goods.’”
Freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want
True freedom is the POWER to do what we OUGHT
True freedom is the POWER to choose the good
True freedom is the POWER to choose the right
True freedom is the POWER to choose the Truth, lie in the Truth, and walk in the Truth
IT IS SO SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO NEVER FORGET THIS!!
Paragraph 1740 continues, “Moreover, the economic, social, political, and cultural conditions that are needed for a just exercise of freedom are too often disregarded or violated. Such situations of blindness and injustice injure the moral life and involve the strong as well as the weak in the temptation to sin against charity. By deviating from the moral law man violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.”
Sometimes we hear that word CHARITY and think of GIVING, OFFERING, THE COLLECTION
CHARITY IS THE DEEPEST FORM OF LOVE!!
We are going to hear about the moral law again and again
We might think of the moral law as a limitation on our freedom, a straitjacket rather than a help or guidelines
Think of the lines on the road that let you know that if you stay between them, you are going to be fine
You don’t get mad at the lines on the road that indicate “stay here”
In bad weather, sometimes you can’t see those lines on the road
And when you can’t see those lines on the road, it is terrifying sometimes
You don’t know how close you are to the ditch
You don’t know if there is a car up ahead
You don’t know where you are
To not have those lines or guardrails is not a feeling of exhilaration in the sense of freedom and fun
IT IS AN EXPERIENCE OF FEAR AND TERROR!!
“By deviating from the moral law man violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.”
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US!!
By INTERIORIZE Fr. Mike means to be able to put yourself in that place
What if you could not see the lines on the road and you had no idea in the middle of the night, in the middle of a snowstorm, if you were even on the road or how close you are to the cliff?
God’s moral law is not a straitjacket
God’s moral law gives us the ability to LIVE WITH FREEDOM AND JOY
Paragraph 1741 says, “Liberation and salvation. By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. ‘For freedom Christ has set us free.’ In him we have communion with the ‘truth that makes us free.’ The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ Already we glory in the ‘liberty of the children of God.’”
It’s not about white-knuckling it for the rest of our lives (For our international brothers and sisters, it’s time I explained this term ‘white-knuckling’...it is the term used to describe the process of fighting or powering through a situation you find anxiety-inducing. Imagine yourself on a scary roller coaster or riding with someone who drives like a maniac and how tight you may hold onto the bar in your lap or the seat in front of you 😃)
God’s grace has been poured into our hearts
Paragraph 1742 says, “Freedom and grace. The grace of Christ is not in the slightest way a rival of our freedom when this freedom accords with the sense of the true and the good that God has put in the human heart. On the contrary, as Christian experience attests especially in prayer, the more docile we are to the promptings of grace, the more we grow in inner freedom and confidence during trials, such as those we face in the pressures and constraints of the outer world. By the working of grace the Holy Spirit educates us in spiritual freedom in order to make us free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world…”
That grace does not take away our free will
This is a really important question
Is it free will or is it God’s grace?
We know that we can’t choose good and we can’t do good without God’s help
Jesus made it very clear
HE IS THE VINE
WE ARE THE BRANCHES
APART FROM JESUS WE CAN DO NOTHING!!
So we NEED God’s grace
AT THE SAME TIME…
The grace of Jesus is not in the slightest way a rival to our freedom
Having God’s grace does not overwhelm our freedom
Having God’s grace does not take away our freedom
IT CORRESPONDS WITH OUR FREEDOM!!
God’s grace gives us the capacity and the ability to do what we want to do, to do what we ought to do
God’s grace gives us the POWER to do what we could never do on our own
God’s grace is NOT A RIVAL to human freedom
God’s grace is a NECESSITY for human freedom
WE WANT TO GROW IN INNER FREEDOM!!
We want to GROW IN CONFIDENCE during trials
We experience this the more and more DOCILE we are to the Holy Spirit
We experience this the more and more OPEN we are to doing what God reveals and calls us to do
Paragraph 1748 says, “‘For freedom Christ has set us free.’”
It’s from Galatians 5:1
WHAT GREAT NEWS!!
That’s what Jesus did on the Cross for us
That is what Jesus did in conquering death and rising from the dead
That is what Jesus did in pouring out His Holy Spirit
IT IS FOR FREEDOM!! Braveheart - They can take our lives, but they will never take our freedom
Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom, Christ set us free. So do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
DO NOT GO BACK TO SIN!!
St. Paul said in Galatians, “Therefore, because Christ set us free, do not return to your sin. Do not, once again, submit to the yoke of slavery because you and I are not made to be slaves.”
There are those of us who may feel like slaves to sin
They keep falling back into sin and don’t know what to do
DO NOT GIVE UP!!
GOD’S GRACE IS FOR YOU!!
GOD’S GRACE IS AVAILABLE!!
GOD’S GRACE TRULY IS ENOUGH!! Your Grace Is Enough - Matt Maher (with lyrics) Praise The Lord Jesus Christ!
DO NOT GIVE UP!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!