Remember how it felt to hold a driver’s license for the first time? Looking down at it and thinking finally! This small plastic card meant so much. All of a sudden we were no longer kids. We could go wherever we want, when we wanted. We could finally drive by ourselves, no parents needed. We sensed, we knew, for the first time in our lives, we could be free.
I think it’s safe to say that we all desire freedom. We all desire the freedom to be fully ourselves. But our culture today tells us or tries to convince us that freedom is doing and acting on whatever desires we may feel. True freedom is having self control, having control over our desires. True freedom comes from an active strive to grow in virtue.
We are not animals, we have control over our desires; we can chose to act on them or not. God made us in His image which means that He has given us the gift of free will. This means that we have the ability to let our desires shape us into the Saints Christ is inviting us to become, or to cause deep wounds and hurt and drive us further away from our Creator.
The kind of freedom that God is calling us to is one that will unlock the greatness that we were made for. Let’s reflect for a second on a new guitar player, or any person learning an instrument for the first time. At the beginning, they won’t be doing any magnificent solos, instead they’ll be going over the basics. They will be practicing and sticking to a routine every day, that will allow their abilities to grow, training themselves constantly. Little by little they’ll be able to master their instruments, where mistakes were often than not, they become fewer. Soon they are able to play beautiful solos and eventually be free to play whatever they like. Love is the same way. Every day we must do our routine of prayer, small acts of love every day, and getting to know God’s heart, training ourselves in self-denial and self-control so that when the time comes, we will have the freedom to willingly and joyfully deny our own desires for the sake of someone else. However, in order to do this, we must do our training and practice every single day. This is through the Commandments. The “no’s” of the Church aren’t really “no’s” at all, they’re actually a greater “yes!” These “rules” are a greater “yes” to authentic love. God doesn’t restrict us, our selfishness does.
God is calling us to a deeper freedom than just the “freedom” to do what we want to do, because my bro’s and sis’s that is just one small aspect of the true freedom God is inviting us to live in. If we do not strive to live in the freedom that comes from knowing, loving and serving the Lord, if we are not using our privileges for the sake of love, then we become slaves. When we live this life in the selfish freedom that the world tries to feed us, we become slaves to our own egos, slaves to our own selves. Let’s think about this for a second. Let’s think about sin, because sin is a result of us acting out on our own selfish desires. Some sin can be an addiction. Addiction makes us a slave to ourselves, it takes away our true freedom of having self control. Sin is such a disgusting thing. We could fall prey to the lies that tell us that we are nothing more than sin, that this sin has control over us and we will never overcome it. But there is hope.
Meekness is not weakness, but empowerment. Meekness is such a strong virtue, a virtue that allows us to thrive in true freedom. Meekness is the one virtue, above all, that allows us to remain ourselves in the midst of the storm, in the midst of great difficulty. Meekness is what keeps us from being possessed by the hardships of our lives, it helps us remain centered in Christ. To quote St. Thomas Aquinas “Meekness makes a man self-possessed.” Meekness allows us to control our strongest desires. Do we want to experience true freedom? Than we MUST grow in meekness, we must become meek of heart.
So my fellow struggling saints, let us choose love, let us become meek and humble of heart. Let us pray to Christ, more of You, and less of me, so that we can experience true inner freedom. Let us live in the liberating message of the Gospel. Let us be free.
“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” St. Pope John Paul II