Friday, December 21, 2007

Freedom in Obedience

In many other posts, such things as beauty and truth have been pondered in their absolutism, but freedom as an absolute cannot be overlooked. The reason it is an absolute is the same reason that truth is absolute. It is of the very nature of God as all-good that freedom would be of that nature. Freedom’s goodness can be ascertained by the fact that it is sought by all in many and various ways, but sought nonetheless, and only that which is good would be sought by all. If freedom is God’s nature, then God is Freedom Itself.

Advent, being a time of anticipation for the coming of our Savior, may not seem like a time to focus on freedom, but that would be a superficial view. In fact, the idea of freedom and our Savior are inseparable, for the coming of the Savior means the coming of Freedom Itself. Our Lord established this as He spoke of Himself through the reading of the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

Living in the “land of the free”, one would expect that freedom would occupy centrality in our cultural consciousness, and it does. Unfortunately what we believe to be freedom has proven to be the exact opposite. We have destroyed that which we seek so rabidly. Indeed it is the rabid nature of our seeking that has destroyed it. We have separated freedom from its source, and in so doing, it has shriveled into a limp and paralyzed version of freedom. Its limpness is what continues to inform our understanding of it so much so that freedom to many is the ability and the right to do whatever we want with no outside interference, input, or the most intolerable of intolerables – correction. Notice how in this version of freedom there is no room for God. This only begs the question: how can freedom possibly be obtained apart from its source? Can freedom ever be found outside of Freedom Itself? Not only does this sound like nonsense, it truly is nonsense in the strictest sense.

Our present situation is one in which nonsense, a.k.a progressivism, is touted as the realm of the intelligentsia and is, therefore, taught to the masses and believed with all too eager acceptance. We see this in the pro-abortion movement which conveniently ignores the facts of biology and simple logic. They would prefer to believe in the miracle of transubstantiation every time a fetus moves from within the womb to outside the womb, becoming a living, breathing human which it was not just minutes before. This is obviously tongue-in-cheek on my part, but it provides a clear sketch of said nonsense. Nor can we forget the nonsense of homosexual marriage, a movement which seeks to convince us that within our maleness and femaleness, there is no intelligible natural law and, thus, no nature in regards to our humanity. What is most disturbing about these is that they are nefariously promoted as freedoms when in fact they constitute the corruption of freedom. These along with a whole host of other likeminded issues have proven to be the spawns of deficient attitudes towards freedom and its obligations.

What, then, is an adequate attitude towards freedom and its obligations? The answer can and must be found in the Word of Freedom Itself, that of Divine Revelation. Romans 6:17 reads, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.” The Logos Itself is revealing to us the true nature of freedom – obedience to Him Who is Truth. It is only in the conforming of our wills to what is true that freedom is obtained and perfected. While human freedom directed towards God leads to its perfection and actualization, the converse is also true. Human freedom directed away from God necessarily leads to corruption and slavery to sin.

In our country’s journey to Godlessness, we secure for ourselves the sure abdication of freedom, accepting for ourselves a slavery much more insidious than the slavery of the body which at least ends with its death. The enslavement of the soul, on the other hand, has the potential to be eternal, for the soul never dies. Its enslavement continues beyond the death of the body and into an unchanging eternity.

What we seek during Advent is the birth of freedom in our souls that can be wrought only in the birth, death, and resurrection of our Savior. May we all rejoice with St. Paul that we who were once slaves of sin now grow in Christ’s freedom.

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