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Monday, September 5, 2016

Freedom and Happiness

1740 Threats to freedom. The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything. It is false to maintain that man, "the subject of this freedom," is "an individual who is fully self-sufficient and whose finality is the satisfaction of his own interests in the enjoyment of earthly goods." Moreover, the economic, social, political, and cultural conditions that are needed for a just exercise of freedom are too often disregarded or violated. Such situations of blindness and injustice injure the moral life and involve the strong as well as the weak in the temptation to sin against charity. By deviating from the moral law man violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.

Sometimes, without realizing it, I end up in an argument with someone who isn't even pesent.  The back and forth between us always feels very real.  It can bring me to tears.  It can cause me to toss and turn instead of sleep.  I can always tell how spiritually connected I am by how long the argument lasts.

To my similarly afflicted and like-minded friends these bouts are familiar.  We all experience them.  Some call it 'The Committee Meeting in my Head' and the best advice I ever received from someone who has been done this longer than me was this:  when the committee meets, volunteer to take the notes.

What I note is that the heart of all of these little mental jaunts is filled with self-pity.  That is why I can go ahead and let the committee meet or the argument finish without having to worry about whether or not I am about to drink.  I am not going to drink.  I might screw up some other way but I can guarantee you I am not going to drink.

Much of what causes me problems today is my deviation from moral law. It is my trying to decide for myself what is right and what is wrong.  That seems to stem from the need to be in charge of life, to determine for myself what I really need. Of course, what I mix up is the 'want' with the 'need'.  What I want may be what I need...but often enough, what I want is just that - what I want and it has nothing to do with what will be good for me.

My spiritual journey is a constant surrender of my will to His Will. It has also been a constant deliberate decision to learn as much as I can so that when the meetings start, the arguments begin with people not there, I can wind my way back to reality.  Reality is, for me, Jesus Christ and The Church HE founded.

I read on FB recently a statement by a nominal Protestant Christian that they had been taught that the God of the Old Testament no longer was valid because Jesus had brought nothing but Love to the world.  I felt so sorry for the person.  What a horrid way to grow up!  I now understand my former friend Patty who used to call herself a recovering Calvinist.  I cannot imagine what it is like to grow up thinking that God USED to be one way and now He is another way.  It makes sense that, if this is how WASPs grew up, our country is so far down the rabbit hole. Having an inconsistent God means never really being able to count on Him....and why so many of the little darlings take a few hits off of a marijuana pipe and decide to either follow some guy who SAYS he is God or discard God all together.

Being able to read The Old Testament (or as I like to call it, Act 1) through the eyes of Faith allows one to see both the historical, the poetic, the allegorical and the interactions of nations as a heralding of what is to come.  It gives me insight into the way the ancient writers thought and how they related to the world around them.  Because Catholics do not discard the body as unimportant like the Gnostic Christians do, our understanding of the sensual is much deeper.  We feel the pain of war, we understand how suffering can affect us at every level and we appreciate that Love is not a ticket to doing what ever you want...we are, ultimately, okay with being told no you cannot do that because we are taught a real and awesome definition of freedom.

  The Old Testament illuminates the New Testament, the New Testament is revealed in the Old Testament.  One does not discard one for the other.  God is not one type of God for pre-Christians and another type of God for those who become Christians.  God is One....a Triune God to be sure but He is One.  He is who is...Old Testament or not.

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