Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Freedom to do or freedom to be?

I can't even remember what sparked this post, but something prompted me to reflect on the very different meanings we can attribute to the notion of freedom.

In contemporary society, people typically think of freedom as meaning the freedom to do something (or even, the freedom to do anything).

The Church, however, has a wholly different notion of freedom: the freedom to become something. And that 'something' is what we are called to be: saints.

The first freedom, the freedom to do whatever we please, leads ultimately to hedonism, sin and misery. Pursuing it results in the restlessness which our hearts experience, the existential angst of the modern age.

The second freedom, the freedom to 'become what we are' leads to ultimate fulfilment (albeit by way of the Cross).

That is one of the reasons that the Church is a sign of contradiction; it is also one of the reasons that we all (and particularly Cardinals and Bishops...) need to maintain a critical distance from the freedoms the world and the worldly clamour for, and not get swept away by them.

Finally, the difference is freedom from any restraint, versus freedom from sin. The second is the primary concern of Christians.

1 comment:

Ttony said...

During the Second World War, De Valera was once going on to Roosevelt's Ambassador to Ireland, David Gray, about the rights of neutral countries. Gray said "The only right we have is to die for our Faith: everything else, we have to fight for".

I haven't yet been able to source this comment, but it's ubiquity suggests that it is (appropriately) ben trovato at least.