“Freedom” is such an abused concept nowadays. Karol Wojtyla, before he was Pope John Paul II, said “Freedom exists for the sake of love” (Love and Responsibility, p. 135). Love is ultimately what we really want to do, and where we’ll find true fulfillment. So, untill we can love – that is, receive, reciprocate and give – without reservation, we are not truely free, or fulfilled. This is why we’ll find true freedom in heaven, because we can love perfectly. This is how souls in hell would suffer; for not being able to love, instead being consumed with hate and selfishness.
So, this life is a school of love; to learn to truely give ourselves for God and for our neighbour. All the discipline and teachings that comes from the Mother Church are there to free us to love, through joyful obedience and self-giving participation. Here too, a passive participation of a lukewarm Catholic – acting out of fear of punishment or only with the enticement of a reward – could never satisfy him; he must be actively and ever more self-giving – acting out of pure love for God and neighbour – in order to find fulfillment. As St. Francis’ prayer goes:
|Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Paradox of paradoxes. Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.