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제목 On Human Liberty - Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (2018-07-15)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2018-07-15





On Human Liberty - Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (2018-07-15)


Introduction


Many times in the Holy Scripture or in the writings of spiritual authors, it is spoken about the “slavery of sin” in opposition to the “liberty of the children of God”.


I will say today a few words on the notion of human liberty. A right understanding of human liberty helps to understand these expressions of the Holy Scriptures and also to understand better what we call the spiritual combat.

Human liberty in God’s plan


God has created us for his own glory and for the purpose to make us share in His absolute happiness. This has 2 consequences: 

The first one is that we are determined towards happiness, we cannot want anything else than to be happy. Whatever we do, ultimately we do it to be happy. Even when people do crazy things, they do them because they find, or they hope to find, some happiness in doing these crazy things. 


 The second consequence is that man cannot find his perfect happiness outside God: as a triangle shape object cannot fit anywhere than into a same size triangle shape hole, so it is impossible for man to find his happiness but in God. You probably know the words of St Augustine in his Confessions: “O God, you have made our heart for You in such a way that far from You it cannot find any rest”.
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Now God wants with us a relationship of love: He created us out of love, He expects us to love Him in return. And therefore God created man with the faculties necessary to give such a response of love: God created man to His own image and likeness, that is to say He gave man an intelligence to know Him, a will to love Him and liberty to make choice of Him, to love Him voluntarily, by choice and not out of necessity. Then God has hidden His marvellous glory from man on earth in order to give him the possibility to exercise his liberty. Indeed God is so great, His Goodness is so sweet that we cannot see God without being irresistibly attracted by Him. On earth we know God through Revelation and by Faith only, like in a mirror would say St Paul. And because of this, we are not attracted irresistibly by God, we can choose voluntarily to believe Him and love Him, and so to merit to go to Heaven.

Now there is an important distinction to make when we speak about liberty: we must distinguish between Psychological liberty and Moral liberty. 

“Psychological liberty” means our psychological capacity to choose to do this action or this other one: I can choose to go out for a hike or to stay at home; being admitted that I have a car, I can choose to use my car or to use the bus. A mad man is somebody who has lost his psychological liberty: it does not know what he does, he cannot choose reasonably to do this or that action.

 “Moral liberty” means our capacity to choose voluntarily and with merits what is right, that is to say what is according to God’s law. For example, I am not morally free to steal or not to steal. God said it clearly: You shall not steal. But I have the capacity to say knowingly and voluntarily: “I decide to comply with God’s law and therefore I reject the idea of stealing anybody”. This is the Moral Liberty God has given us so that we can merit a reward for our good actions.
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Now for the rest of this sermon, I will always speak about this moral liberty: our capacity to choose what is moral, that is to say what is according to God’s law, and our capacity to reject what is immoral.


Original sin and our moral liberty


Martin Luther taught that our moral liberty had been destroyed by Original Sin, that we do not have anymore the capacity of rejecting what is wrong and of choosing what is right, and therefore he taught that is is impossible to resist temptations. And if it is impossible to resist temptations, we cannot be guilty of the sins we commit, and therefore God cannot condemn us and punish us in hell. In other words, Luther brought down man to the level of animals who cannot do otherwise than to follow their instinct.

The truth is that Original Sin has wounded our faculties: our intelligence has been wounded by ignorance, we have difficulty to learn the truth and on the contrary we are prone to believe errors (it is always surprising to see the big number of people who believe the very strange and sometimes the stupid teaching of some sect leaders); our will has been wounded by malice, we are prone to do evil more than to do good: this is our daily experience with temptations; our sensibility has been wounded by weakness and concupiscence: we are weak to overcome difficulties in doing good and we are always thirsty for pleasure.

Original Sin has wounded our faculties but has not affected at all our moral liberty itself: we have still the capacity to choose what is good and to reject what is evil. But this has become more difficult, precisely because our Intelligence and will and sensibility have been wounded as explained.

The use of our moral liberty becomes even more difficult when we develop bad habits, what we call vices. A vice is a bigger facility to do something wrong up to the point to become a real slavery, an urge which we can hardly resist. Ask a youngster who is used of wasting time playing games on his computer for hours everyday to stop it for one full week; ask somebody addicted to impure self-abuse to stop it; ask somebody who is used of procrastinating his duties to fulfil them punctually; ask somebody who gossips usually about the others to stop it; and so on… and you shall see: even when they really want to stop it, they hardly managed. Sinful habits are real slavery, a slavery which will be more or less serious, more or less rooted in the soul, but slavery all the same: they make us lose our moral liberty to choose what is right.


Necessity of grace


In fact since the Original Sin, it has become impossible for man to avoid all sin all the time. Not that we have lost our liberty, but we have become so weak that, left to ourselves, we cannot not misuse it. Should we desperate about ourselves and consider our resolutions to amend ourselves as useless? No, because God offers us His graces, his help, and with the grace of God everything becomes possible. God’s grace restores us into our human dignity, in our capacity to reject what is evil and to choose what is right. Our Lord Jesus is the Good Samaritan who has come to the rescue of Man wounded by Original Sin, and who gives him back his spiritual health, his moral liberty. The more we are united to God by sanctifying grace, the more we are spiritually free: more capable to resist the temptations, more indifferent to what is not God. The Saints are the freest people in the world. On the contrary the people who live far from God are slaves of the worst category: slaves of their passions, slaves of their ambitions, slaves of what people can think of them; and they pretend to be free, to control their destiny!

Conclusion:


Now, if you have understood what moral liberty is, that is to say the capacity to choose what is right and reject what is evil voluntarily, you will understand the following conclusions:

■  Human liberty is not at all the right to do whatever I want. This is a false definition of liberty spread by free-masonry. This so-called liberty is in reality the pretension of man to be independent from God.


■  Human liberty is a means given us by God to merit Heaven. Like a chisel is a tool in the hands of a sculptor to realize his masterpiece, so our human liberty is a tool in our hands to merit our eternal salvation.


■  If our liberty is like a tool, then we need to learn how to use it properly. You the Parents, the main purpose of the education you give to your children is to teach them little by little how to use properly their liberty, to train them to choose what is right, honest, beautiful, just, holy, to choose what leads to their true happiness, and on the contrary to reject what is evil, dishonest, ugly, unfair, sinful, to reject what would lead them to the slavery of their unruled passions.


■  Now for you the youngsters: when you were children, you obeyed and followed your parents. Now that you are big and starting to use at full your liberty, the good training your parents have given you in matter of religion, of family values, of politeness and good social life, and so on, must become your personal decisions and choices. If you don’t make these personal, intimate and convinced choices, you are in a great danger of being taken away by the deceptive joys proposed by worldly people, and you will end up in eternal misery. It is when you will have done such personal choices that you will prove to have become adults.

May the Immaculate Heart of Mary always help us to use well of our human liberty. Amen


Fr. Etienue Demornex