Decisions. What does it take for us to make a decision with our lives? Freedom! To make a decision with our lives is the ultimate act of freedom. Once we have made a decision we are free to move forward in our lives and to pursue perfection. Our perfection does not result from our not making any mistakes, it results from our learning and being who we are truly meant to be.
Freedom is not realized by doing something that someone else wants us to do. Other persons cannot choose the path that we are meant to follow. Someone else cannot make our decisions for us. People can easily spend their entire lives trying to be what they think that others want them to be. There is no freedom and no joy in trying to live up to other persons’ expectations of us. True freedom only comes from our taking responsibility for our own lives and choosing to follow our own calling in life. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand because we will be held accountable for the decisions that we make in our lives. Ultimately, we cannot hold other persons accountable for the decisions that we have made in our lives. We cannot blame others for our personal failings.
However, freedom is also not realized by our choosing to do whatever we want to do with our lives. Our desires can often be disordered and may cause us to pursue the path of least resistance. We can too often be tempted to take the easy path, or to take shortcuts in our lives. We are lured into taking the path of selfish pleasures and squander our true meaning and purpose in life. Freedom is not licentiousness. We will not find joy and happiness in our lives by simply giving ourselves license to do whatever feels good or brings us momentary pleasures. Too often these momentary pleasures turn out to be illusions and traps that lead us into addictions and slavery to sin.
Freedom comes from the Truth. Jesus told his disciples who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn 8,31f) Freedom comes from knowing the Truth and following the Way of Truth that leads to Life. Freedom comes from knowing and following Jesus. Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (Jn 14,6) Freedom comes from living by the Spirit. Jesus promises his disciples, “But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” (Jn 16,13) To live in freedom, to pursue perfection, and to be the person that we are meant to be, we need divine assistance and guidance in our lives. As St. Paul tells the Colossians: “Your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3,3) From the moment of our baptism, our lives belong to God – “you are not your own.” (1 Cor 6,19) We are his children and we live in the light of his love. To know who we truly are, who we were meant to be and what is good and will lead us to happiness we must know God the Father, who alone is good. “No one is good but God alone.” (Mk 10,18)
Decisions. Paradoxically, to be free, one must make a decision to take on the gentle yoke of Jesus, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11,30) The path to true freedom is learned from Jesus. This path begins when we make a personal decision to follow Jesus and walk with him. The decision we must make is a decision of faith. We must place all our trust in Jesus. The decision we must make is a decision to love. “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (Jn 13,34)
St. Paul exhorts the Galatians: “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.” (Gal 5,1) Jesus, “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9,51) He set his face like flint on accomplishing the will of the Father. His perfect act of freedom was to offer his life as a sacrifice of love. Our decision to follow Jesus must also be resolute and firm. We must overcome every doubt, excuse and obstacle that is set before us. In our decision to follow Jesus there is no looking back, no regrets, no nostalgic musing, just a firm, resolute determination to follow wherever he leads us. Discipleship cannot be half-hearted, part-time or provisional. Discipleship costs us everything that we have and are but it also gives us the one thing that matters, our freedom. We were made for this: to be free, to make a personal decision and to follow where the Spirit of love and truth guides us. Don’t let the illusions of the world change your mind or your heart and cause you to sin. Don’t be a loser, a sell-out, for the perfect you was always meant to follow Christ! The New Jerusalem ahead, the world behind! Be resolute!
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