Christian Freedom


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A Passionist reflection on the passage of Paul's letter to the Galatians where he expresses the Freedom from sin that we Christians have through Christ. This reflection also compares Christian Freedom from the American context of Freedom.

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Christian Freedom

  1. 1. Christian Freedom And The Evangelical Councils A Reflection of Galatians 5:13-26
  2. 2. Presentation Format <ul><li>Reading and Commentary from Galatians </li></ul><ul><li>The Evangelical Councils as path toward Christian Freedom </li></ul><ul><li>Lay Spirituality of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obedience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chastity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pacem in Terris and the Catholic contribution towards a Free Society </li></ul>
  3. 3. Galatians 5:13-26 <ul><li>For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another… </li></ul><ul><li>…If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Commentary - Context <ul><li>The year is 55 AD, Paul is angry that a community which extended great hospitality to him now accuse Paul of cheating them </li></ul><ul><li>Jewish Christian that Paul confronted in the Jerusalem Council now undermine Paul’s Missionary work. </li></ul><ul><li>The issue is how are Gentiles to receive the God’s gift of Jesus. Faith alone, or faith and works of the Law (Torah) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Commentary - Message <ul><li>We are Free to serve God more faithfully </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We cannot serve two masters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do we serve the Flesh or the Spirit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Works of the Flesh are actions and attitudes of self-indulgence </li></ul><ul><li>Works of the Spirit are actions and attitudes for God and the community. </li></ul><ul><li>Free to “become slaves to one another” </li></ul>
  6. 6. FREEDOM to “become slaves to one another”
  7. 7. A Catholic path towards Freedom <ul><li>Perfectae Caritatis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Indeed from the very beginning of the Church men and women have set about following Christ with greater freedom and imitating Him more closely through the practice of the evangelical counsels , each in his own way leading a life dedicated to God. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Evangelical Counsels <ul><li>Chastity </li></ul><ul><li>Obedience </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty </li></ul><ul><li>But what do the vows of the religious have to do with the laity? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Apostolicam Actuasitatem <ul><li>In the Church there is a diversity of ministry but a oneness of mission…the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>The laity derive the right and duty to the apostolate from their union with Christ the head; incorporated into Christ's Mystical Body through Baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation, they are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord Himself. They are consecrated for the royal priesthood and the holy people (cf. 1 Peter 2:4-10) not only that they may offer spiritual sacrifices in everything they do but also that they may witness to Christ throughout the world. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Reinterpreting the Evangelical Counsels, For the Married Christian community <ul><li>Imperatives rather than Counsels </li></ul><ul><li>Vows FOR rather than OF </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Signifying an intentional progression </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on the Spirit rather than a legalistic approach to living these Counsels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Spirit calls us to reassess our relationships with Ourselves (Chastity) our Community (Obedience) and our Resources (Poverty) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Chastity <ul><li>All human beings, created by God to love and to be loved, fulfill their vocations in different ways. Following the example of Christ and for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, we choose [chastity] with full freedom, giving all our love to God who is Supreme love and to our fellow human beings. #16 </li></ul><ul><li>A vow for relatedness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Know thyself.” maintain integrity of who you are in your relationship with God and all of humanity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand yourself in relationship with all humanity maintaining fidelity to yourself, fully respecting the dignity of all but maintaining appropriate priorities and distinctions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Become a witness of incarnational living </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Obedience <ul><li>God our Father has a loving purpose for the world and for every person it contains. In the Father's plan Christ freely accepted the role of servant, and becoming our brother was &quot;obedient unto death.”…The mediation of others, especially of Superiors and the community, helps us know God's will. Accepting this meditation in a spirit of faith, we become witnesses to the dynamic presence of Christ and His constant love of the Father. #20&21 </li></ul><ul><li>Vow for Mutual Collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify oneself in the context of having shared responsibility within a local and global community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service of mutuality, partnership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaging with the community but listening to the wisdom of the group. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Poverty <ul><li>This spirit of poverty, awakened in us by Christ's grace, makes us more ready to give service to all. Like the first Christian community, one in heart and one in spirit, and holding all their goods in common, we do not look upon our possessions as our own. Having chosen to live together, we wish to share what we have in a simple and modest lifestyle. #11 </li></ul><ul><li>Vow for Mutual Sustainability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stewards of Creation, goods entrusted to us by God </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-possessive ownership of the commons: sharing the natural resources with the larger community and future generations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Living simply so that others may simply live </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Social Freedom <ul><li>In 1960’s the three Johns brought to bear the promotion and development of social freedom within the Catholic Church. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John F. Kennedy became President of the United States </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pope John XXIII wrote Pacem in Terris which supported the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and he opened Vatican II </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ developed his Catholic American synthesis in his work “We Hold these Truths.” He was instrumental for the Vatican position on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Pacem in Terris <ul><li>“ Hence, too, Pope Leo XIII declared that &quot;true freedom, freedom worthy of the sons of God, is that freedom which most truly safeguards the dignity of the human person. It is stronger than any violence or injustice. Such is the freedom which has always been desired by the Church, and which she holds most dear. It is the sort of freedom which the Apostles resolutely claimed for themselves. The apologists defended it in their writings; thousands of martyrs consecrated it with their blood.‘' #14 </li></ul>
  16. 16. Pacem in Terris <ul><li>“ We must include the task of establishing new relationships in human society, under the mastery and guidance of truth, justice, charity and freedom—relations between individual citizens, between citizens and their respective States, between States, and finally between individuals, families, intermediate associations and States on the one hand, and the world community on the other. There is surely no one who will not consider this a most exalted task, for it is one which is able to bring about true peace in accordance with divinely established order.” #163 </li></ul>
  17. 17. Murray’s legacy <ul><li>Freedom therefore is authenticity, truthfulness, fidelity to the pursuit of the truth and to the the truth when found…. Freedom is experienced as duty, as responsibility – as a response to the claims of justice, to the demands of rightful law, to the governance and guidance of legitimate authority. </li></ul><ul><li>In its intimately Christian sense, however, freedom has a higher meaning than all this. Freedom, in the deepest experience of it, is love, to be free is to be-for-others. The Christian call to freedom is inherently a call to community, a summons out of isolation, an invitation to be-with-others, an impulse to service of others. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Declaration of Independence <ul><li>WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness </li></ul><ul><li>… And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor. </li></ul>