Tampering with Freedom

20 But he said to them, “It is I.[1] Do not be afraid.” [2]

The two most difficult things opposites…one to comprehend and the other to do. Jesus, God, the Almighty, the All-Powerful, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Being of all beings, the Light from light, True God from True God, right here in front of me, standing on the water, and He’s tell me not to be afraid. When God tells you something, its somewhere on the spectrum of encouragement to command. When God speaks anything other than my free will, it is, it becomes, it is done…storms cease, fig trees wither, illness vanishes, water becomes wine, bread and wine become Body and Blood.

The one thing You never tamper with is our freedom to choose You or not, my freedom,…something You could so easily do…something I would do in a heartbeat if I were God. I mean, think of it….turn murderers into guardian angels, turn the greedy into philanthropists, turn liars into Truth sayers, turn Atheists into believers, turn Pagans into Christians, turn enemies into allies, turn ISIS into UNESCO, turn Republicans into Democrats,…whoa, whoa, whoa…shades of my version of 1984, Brave New World, of Mr. Blue’s parable…of forcing all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads. [Rev 13:16]

I thank You, God, You don’t work that way. In Your wisdom and mercy, You established the inviolable law of Truth, that “the truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.”[3]

Yes, You Yourself have  “made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve…[You], and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness…[Yes,] on their part, all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns…[You and Your] Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it. [Yes,] the Vatican Council likewise professes its belief that it is upon the human conscience that these obligations fall and exert their binding force.” [4]

[But also, like the God who started it, the God who guides it, the God who cares for it every moment of its existence, the Catholic Church believes, states, and defends every person’s] “religious freedom,…which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, [and which] has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. It leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,…[but upholds and defends] the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society.” [5]

Thank you, God, for my freedom to believe. Help me to use that freedom as You intended.

[1] This could also be translated “I am,” an Old Testament self-designation of Yahweh (Is 43:3, etc.); cf. Jn 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5–6, 8. NABRE note on Jn 4:6.

[2] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

[3] Vatican II, Declaration On Religious Freedom: On The Right Of The Person And Of Communities To Social And Civil Freedom In Matters Religious, Para. 1

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

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