Considering Freedom

June is busting out all over. It’s a happy time. No more pencils, no more books. No more teacher’s dirty looks. It’s a time of freedom. The gateway to summer vacation. Longer days, warmer nights. My imagination begins to whirl around the idea of freedom. There are many kinds of freedom. Freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom from oppression… All good and noble ideals. But in musing, I have come up with the idea that the “freedom froms” are not as important as the “freedom tos.” Freedom to love. Freedom to worship. We are created subject to our own free will. One of our greatest gifts, but also, one of the most dangerous. To choose to love is the highest gift we can have as human beings. Our ability not to love, our most destructive possibility. Many believe freedom from all laws, customs, and regulation is true freedom. It is not. If such freedoms were predominant, we would come to chaos and anarchy. But because, according to Sartre, we are condemned to be free… Condemned might be too strong a word. It has too many pejorative connotations. Rather, we are subject to our free will. Free will separates us from all other creatures on the planet. We are bound to choose what is good for ourselves and for others, and to live and enjoy the freedom of the children of God.

The Monthly Musing series is written by Fr. Francis Schemel, Chaplain to the Staff at Georgetown University. Dive deeper into his spiritual ponderings on his blog.

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