Free To Discern

06P pixabay 3As an American, I consider freedom to be hugely important. How important to you is your freedom? Who is the freest person you know? How would you define freedom?

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Freedom is not doing whatever we want, without any consequences. Unfortunately, this is often how people think of it today. Earlier in this blog in the Lectio Divina: Free in Christ, I tried to start unpacking what true freedom really is:

Sometimes we equate freedom with a lack of external constraints–such as rules, or walls, or consequences. But true freedom is really about a lack of inner constraints–from unhealthy attachments and addictions, from anger, from selfishness, from fear; above all, from sin.

Freedom is not an escape from, but an ability to choose for. Freedom truly is the ability to “Love, and do what you want,” but the key is that “what you want” is a pure desire, free from self-love and directed towards God.

Saints are truly free persons who are able to give themselves completely in love to others because they are confident in God’s love for them. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus broke out of the prison of fear to be fully free: he freely chose to embrace the will of his Father, out of complete confidence in his Father and out of the love for humanity which he shared with his Father.

It is important to grow in freedom as we are discerning. Otherwise the voices of our own ego or selfish desires can drown out God’s voice, no matter how God speaks to us. But learning to live in a spirit of discernment—like any aspect of the spiritual life—is gradual. A good discernment doesn’t require perfect freedom. However, we should at least try to recognize what our desires and attachments are in the area of this particular discernment, so that we can strive to let go of them as much as humanly possible. Even healthy, good desires and attachments—such as our satisfaction in a particular aspect of the Church’s mission, or our love for our family—can become impediments to true freedom if we make them more important than the will of God.

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To Journal About

What is your vision of freedom?

What are the biggest obstacles to freedom that you face in your current discernment?

After you have journaled about these questions, bring your answers and your desires to Jesus in prayer.

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