Dear Faith Family,
“Freedom is love, with no condition.”
This is one of my favorite quotes. I heard it as a teenager and it stuck with me. To me, it is somehow both simple and profound and It has helped me to understand what type of life I want to live. Freedom is vital to the human person and it is through freedom that we are able to be our best selves.
At first glance, the quote may seem like one developed for the American sentiment. Maybe it was given from one our great forefathers in American history? Maybe it’s from someone who signed the Declaration of Independence? Or since this is a bulletin letter, maybe it is a quote from a saint from our vibrant Church history?
Nah, it is a lyric from a ska band I grew up listening to. The song is called Every New Day by Five Iron Frenzy. Yes, a band with a horn section wrote a lyric that shaped the way I view life.
When we hear the concept of freedom, we tend to automatically associate it with American values (which is indeed proper and good). Sometimes though, we fail to realize the necessity of freedom/free will when it comes to our faith. Unconditional love means nothing without the ability to choose to give or receive freely. Our faith is dependent on the concept of freedom. God gave us freewill, because without free will, love does not exist.
Our God is not tyrannical. He does not force us to love. Our God is not a dictator and He does not force us to receive love. Our God though has given us free will to help us to understand Him fully. If our relationship with Him was forced, it would not be a relationship at all. God used His free will to create all things out of love, and He used his freewill to give himself on the cross to show us what love looks like. We use our free will to worship and to be charitable. Worship is not worship without free will. Charity ceases to be when it is forced.
This is one of main reasons why our faith holds so much beauty, none of it is forced. Once we do make the decision to love God and love our neighbor, the beauty of our faith becomes vibrant. We have made the choice to “encounter Jesus and be disciples” with our God given free will. Beauty lies within the choices that we make with our freedom. Hopefully we feel compelled enough to share the beauty of our faith, so others can know.
So freedom truly is love, and it brings about no condition. You will have free will even if you make the wrong choices in life. God gave free will to all sinners and saints. It is our choice to pick the path.