Amor et Veritas

There is nothing more divine than love – true love that seeks the well-being of the beloved in an absolute fashion. Love is the reason for Christ’s Incarnation, to save the fallen human race from its self-inflicted demise. The great irony (if I can use that word here), though, is that man’s Fall was a product of his own freedom to choose, the greatest gift given to him by God in His supreme act of creative Love. Talk about perplexing…

These two realities – love and freedom – are the foundation of human dignity. They are what properly identify us as the “image and likeness” of God in the Holy Trinity; only God can love supremely and choose supremely, and so He desired the height of His creation to share these gifts with Him. What a loving God we have! What an immensely generous God we have, that He would trust us with such noble responsibility! Needless to say, these gifts cannot be taken lightly or for granted. They are intended to be directed back to the Glory of the Trinity – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (the motto of the Jesuits: “To the greater Glory of God”).

Continuing on with the idea that being Catholic means being fully human, we should consider how love and freedom play a part; especially in today’s world, this reality is often obscured. Often, the Church is portrayed as a hindrance to freedom: “it sets forth an agenda of oppression and simply tells us what not to do.” Even the Ten Commandments come under constant attack by those who choose to believe that any sort of similar instruction is purely negative and deprives man of his true freedom. On the contrary, though, the dictates and teachings of the Church – like the Commandments of God in the Old Testament – are intended to enhance true freedom. How can someone act freely if they are constantly hindered by their passions and whimsical dispositions? Likewise, the Church’s goal has always been to foster and carry out acts of genuine love throughout the world. It is only through loving our neighbor that we can love God: the human person, created in the image of the Trinity, is naturally prone to loving another. Anything less would be self-deprecating. Anything less would be non-Catholic.

Needless to say, it would be quite impossible to simply change the world’s outlook on the Church in a short time. However, there is definitely great hope that we, as young Catholics, can begin to slowly turn the tides of what often seems an overbearing battle. By simply living the love and freedom that we profess, we can provide an inestimable witness to those who may think quite negatively about the Christian ideals that the Church so dearly teaches. We need to pray for one another (myself included on both ends!) that we remain open to the Love of the Holy Trinity in our lives, and that we might be instruments of evangelization and conversion to the whole world.

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    # by Andrew Reinhart - July 30, 2007 at 5:47 PM

    I love this topic, so I wanted to add just a touch. It is important to note that freedom does consist in the ability to choose, but by choosing something we always are saying no to the other choices. The difference between saying yes and no to what is good is that when we say no to what is good we actually reduce our own freedom, and when we say yes to what is good we make ourselves more free, although each time we say yes, it makes us want to say yes even more the next time. We can see this by looking at two possible extremes. Both a drug addict and a saint started out as free, but since the addict said yes to what was bad for him, he is now a slave to a substance. The saint on the other hand is still able to say no, but he(or she of course) doesn't want to. To be truly free we must try to be holy because sin enslaves us.

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    # by Andrew Reinhart - July 30, 2007 at 5:48 PM

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    # by Andrea - July 30, 2007 at 10:38 PM

    I think it is interesting how in Romans 6:22 it says "But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,and its end is eternal life." So when we are living righteous lives, trying to conform to God's will we actually become 'slaves' to Christ, yet when we are slaves to Christ, we live in true freedom. At least that is how I understand it- because it is only in Christ that we find joy, hope, peace, and have a purpose- FREEDOM. Hmmm... I don't know if that all made sense... but reading the article made me think of Romans 6 so I thought I would share.