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INSIGHT

God, freedom, love

By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, roycimagala@gmail.com
May 28, 2020

HOW important it is that we have a clear idea of the relationship between God and freedom, and between freedom and love. Given our very confusing times, when the distinction between truth and falsehood, good and evil, moral and immoral is blurred, it’s very urgent that we get hold of this distinction, if we wish to be on the right track in our life!

Everything true, good and beautiful comes from God. There’s no question about that. Nothing can be true, good and beautiful if God is not at the core of it. Anything that is not true, good and beautiful does not come from God, even if it has appearances of what we subjectively consider as truth, goodness and beauty. And sad to say, we often get caught in this trap of an anomaly.

Of course, in the rough and tumble of our actual life in this world, truth and falsehood, good and evil, beauty and ugliness can get mixed up in us but never in the same aspects. One may be good in looks but bad in manners, to cite an obvious example. So we have to be extremely discerning to be able to distinguish, since this mixing can be very subtly confusing. We may not even realize we are confused, let alone, wrong.

We have to realize more deeply then that our freedom, if it has to be real freedom, has to come from God. It has to be related to him, to his will, to his laws and commandments. Freedom is not real freedom if it would just be a matter of doing our own will. Our will has to conform to God’s will for us to enjoy true freedom.

We need to strengthen our conviction about this essential relationship between God and our freedom. This is the truth about freedom. This is the truth referred to when Christ told the Jews who believed him, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn 8,31-32)

From here, we can already realize that our living and true relationship with God is very indispensable. Without this relationship in place, we simply would be left to our own devices. And that realization should already egg us to really take care of our relationship with God, knowing how limited and prone to confusion and error our unguided human powers can be.

With the relationship between God and freedom clarified, we have to realize next that freedom is what enables us to love, just as God’s love for us and all of his creation was an act of freedom on his part. He was not forced to create anything or anyone. There absolutely was no necessity for him to create us. But He did it just the same, out of freedom.

In other words, he created us and the whole universe out of pure love, a total self-giving that can never be reciprocated equally by his creatures. This is the essence of love which, according to the First Letter of St. John, is the very essence of God: “God is love.” (4,8)

In short, for us to truly love, it has to be an act of freedom. And to be able to love in true freedom and not false freedom, it has to be based on God, rooted on his will and commandments, and empowered by his Spirit. Thus, Christ said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn 14,15)

So, we should know where we can find true love and what would constitute as authentic love, and not fake love. This is the love that Christ himself has shown us. It’s a love that culminated in his passion and death in total obedience to the Father’s will so our sins can be forgiven. This is the love that he commands us to do!

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