There's a paradox about feeling truly free ...
Pope Francis continued with his teaching on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians at the October 20 general audience. He noted the key aspect of Paul’s understanding of freedom.
Here are 10 of his insights:
Reborn in Christ, we have passed from a religiosity made up of precepts – we have moved on from a religiosity made up of precepts – to a living faith, which has its center in communion with God and with our brothers and sisters, that is, in love. We have passed from the slavery of fear and sin to the freedom of God’s children. Here, again, is the word freedom …
Not about desires
Freedom, therefore, is not a libertine way of living, according to the flesh or following the instincts, individual desires, or one’s own selfish impulses
An element of slavery
On the contrary, the freedom of Jesus leads us to be, the Apostle writes, “servants of one another.” But is this slavery? Yes, freedom in Christ has an element of slavery
Yet again, we find ourselves faced with the paradox of the Gospel: we are freed by serving, not in doing whatever we want. We are free in serving, and freedom comes from there; we find ourselves fully to the extent to which we give ourselves. We find ourselves fully to the extent to which we give ourselves, to which we have the courage to give ourselves; we possess life if we lose it (cf. Mk 8:35). This is pure Gospel.
The Apostle’s answer is as simple as it is demanding: “through love” (Gal 5:13). There is no freedom without love.
Turning in on self
The selfish freedom of doing what I want is not freedom, because it turns in on itself, it is not fruitful. Through love: it is Christ’s love that has freed us and it is love that also frees us from the worst slavery, that of the self; therefore, freedom increases with love.
True freedom frees
How often, after following instinct alone, do we realise that we are left with a great emptiness inside and that we have used badly the treasure of our freedom, the beauty of being able to choose true goodness for ourselves and for others. True freedom always frees us
The test of true freedom
Freedom guided by love is the only one that sets others and ourselves free, that knows how to listen without imposing, that knows how to love without coercing, that builds and does not destroy, that does not exploit others for its own convenience and does good without seeking its own benefit. In short, if freedom is not at the service – this is the test – if freedom is not in the service of good, it runs the risk of being barren and not bearing fruit.