"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17).
I often think of my gift of freedom in connotation with being an American. Coming from a family with strong Navy roots, I was proud of our country and the rights I have; I learned our Pledge of Allegiance alongside many a patriotic song. Civil liberties and rights are often seen as the ultimate show of “being free.” Quickly forgotten is the true origin of freedom, given to us by God.
God loves freedom so much that He gifted each of us with free will, so we’d be free to seek Him of our own accord. While allowing us to make our own choices, our freedom is fulfilled and “attains its perfection when directed towards God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1731).
Many “rights” that we long for, fight for, and staunchly defend are only truly oriented to freedom when they honor God first. It’s easy to become so focused on taking control and being heard in pursuit of ideals from being free-spirited, free of expectations, norms, and constrictions. But even knocking off those yokes, if we aren’t handing them over to God, are we truly free?
True Freedom is found in the good and the just. When we turn inward focusing on self-fulfillment, it’s easy to become entrapped in vice, slaves of our own sins. The world is there offering you addiction, fleeting feelings, and unhappiness all masquerading as freedom. Unless we are free not to do something, we aren’t truly free to do it.
The question becomes less “what am I in control of?” and more “what am I surrendering to Him?” It’s more than having the right to do as I please. Freely choosing to submit to His greater plan, entrusting our passions and our hopes to Him opens a much bigger door.
As we seek God, offering Him back the freedom He first gifted us, the veil is lifted along with our burdens, and we can look beyond to our true goal and actual joy.
This Pope and Saint spoke on freedom passionately to Americans. Read the homily here.
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother to four boys while living in a 200 year old farmhouse. When not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or snagging amazing antique furniture deals. You can find out more about her here.