"Better to give to others the things contemplated than simply to contemplate." St. Thomas Aquinas
Friday, May 18, 2012
I recently read a post on facebook by a close family member that disturbed me greatly. This is not the first time I've been disturbed by a post on facebook (and by "disturbed" I do not mean "offended"...there is a difference and the difference is key) that indicated a very strong, "anti-theist" or "atheist" viewpoint. That being, essentially (not verbatim): "It is ironic that in the same country founded for religious freedom...becomes a nation where the "religious" persecute the freedoms of others." Of course, this could be referring to many things but principally it would appear to be regarding (so called) "Homosexual Marriage" (and I say "so called" because it is NOT marriage and never can be a true Sacramental Marriage)...or it could be referring to abortion...could be "all of the above"...who knows....
At any rate what is clear to me is that this is a prevailing attitude among the self-proclaimed: "I'm spiritual...just not religious" crowd. The serious error in this view that I wish to address (though there are many that should be addressed) is this: the false notion of freedom. Their thinking goes something like this..."It's a free country and everyone here should be able to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't interfere in the lives of others." Or similarly, "Who are YOU to say what I should or should not do with my body?" On the surface these might seem reasonable as they are very broad in their scope and vague. But what lies underneath (and here "lie" is intended) is a false notion that religious people want to subjugate others and simply make others "follow the rules." I would suggest nothing could be further from the truth...here's why...
A truly "religious" or truly "Spiritual" person (capital S on Spiritual this time...also intended) is one who desires the "ultimate best" for the sake of others. What does this look like? Essentially, we come (as Jesus Christ) to serve and NOT to be served. We do not want to create some "perfect society" simply where others are prone (by force or coercion) to simply "do what we say!" This is absurd to the truly Spiritual person. What we DO want is for Souls to not be damaged and/or destroyed. Much like the example of the loving Mother who does not want her children to eat mounds of candy because Mothers love their children too much to give them, immediately, whatever they happen to want. Or the loving Father who would weep over the poor choices of a drug-addicted son...it is not so much the "rules" that are our main concern...but the harm that we know is caused by giving in to homosexual temptations...by abortion...by contraception...by euthanasia.
I would sum it up in this way: it is true we are "free." Free to love and free to throw ourselves off the cliff. Our freedom to love is compromised to the degree we selfishly choose for sin and to feed our own sinful inclinations...just as our freedom to live is compromised by our desire to pretend we can fly off said cliff. It isn't that we "hate" or want to "persecute" those with opposing views but we have simply tasted eternal life...seen glimmers of the purity and holiness of God...we have experienced divine transformation (to one degree or another) in our hearts. The truly Spiritual (born of the Holy Spirit) do not hate anyone...but surely love...and this love leads us to challenge that which we know will kill...either physically, or much worse yet, spiritually kill.
What then is freedom? Freedom is to be fettered to the love of God in Christ Jesus. Limited in denial of sin, yes, but here the entire universe is ours to inherit. So many are throwing their lives away for meaningless "tendencies" and sinful "inclinations." Yet, our Lord has taught us that we are to be called, "Children of the Father." What we gain by sin is death and what we gain by denying our sinful inclinations (for the sake of Our Lord) is eternal life. How is such a "fettering" freedom? Because we are free when we live corresponding most closely to our nature and our divine-purpose. We cheapen these things through lack of Chastity and Purity. License is doing what you want...jumping from the plane without a parachute...you can do this...but this only lasts so long. Whereas eternity in joy is for those who persevere and turn, repent and place themselves in the loving arms of God.