Mon. Oct 19th, 2020

Was Jesus free? I mean, as He hung there dying on the cross, was He free? As Christians we answer with a resounding, “yes!” Did Jesus want to die then, there and in the manner Ge did? NO! “Father if it is your will, take this cup away from me; still not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus clearly did not want to go through His passion, but He was free. Speaking about laying down His life Jesus says, “No one takes if from me, but I lay it down on my own.” (John 10:18)
How can we reconcile this? Jesus did not want to do it, but He freely chooses it. I hope that for most of you there is no contradiction or difficulty. What is the point of this blog post? Well, in our culture we tend to define freedom as doing whatever we want to do. We tend to conflate fulfilling a desire with authentic freedom. We Christians don’t see freedom as the right or ability to do whatever we feel like doing, rather we define freedom as being able to do the good. The Catechism has this to say about our freedom, “Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.” CCC #1731
Our freedom and ability to choose is a gift from God. It is freedom that allows us to love God in return. However, we should never forget that God is the ultimate good, and the source of all goodness. When our will (or our ability to choose) moves toward God it becomes more completely what it was created to be and we become more free. When we are selfish or self-absorbed and our will moves away from God and toward our self we become less free.
On a very practical and human level we know this to be true. The more we choose good, the easier it is to choose good. The more we choose evil the easier it becomes to choose evil. Think about the last time you started a diet; what was the hardest part? I bet it was getting started. Once you have made several good choices it gets easier. There is certainly a chemical aspect to that, but I have found the same pattern to hold when it comes to moral decisions.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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